Taking A Look At The New D’backs


I’ve done several posts about my opinion of Justin Upton and how he was treated by the Diamondbacks management and front office. So instead of re-hashing everything I already have written before, I’ll just shamelessly plug those articles again here, here and here.

Image: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

But I also can’t just ignore the potential franchise-changing deal the D’backs just pulled off when they sent Upton to Atlanta. So how about we take a look at the pieces the Diamonbacks got in return.

The biggest piece is of course Martin Prado. I strangely found myself disparaging Prado right after the deal was announced. I say strangely because I’ve long been a Prado supporter. I thought he was underrated for quite some time with the Braves. However, he’s not good enough to be the centerpiece of a deal involving Upton. That is why I found myself citing Prado’s flaws instead of his strengths on Twitter.

Prado has always been a good OBP and doubles hitter. He is versatile on defense allowing his team to use him in several different aspects – he played every single infield position (minus pitcher and catcher) plus left field in 2012 alone for the Braves. He’s a good piece for a contending team.

Much of his versatility will be lost in Arizona, though. With a crowded outfield, and Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt entrenched at second and first respectively, Prado will undoubtedly be penciled into third base for the entire season. If that’s the case, he will lose much of the value that he had with the Braves.

Prado has hit double-digit home runs in each of the past four seasons but has never eclipsed more than 15 and has never had above a .464 Slugging.

Long story short, I like Prado. I think he’s a good player that can provide a boost to the third-base position. He’s just not quite the type of player that many made him out to be after the deal went down.

Now for the other players in the deal. The D’backs received starting pitcher Randall Delgado, pitching prospect Zeke Spruill and infield prospects Nick Ahmed and Brandon Drury.

Delgado is the lone player out of those four to have seen any time in the big leagues so far in his career

Delgado has thrown 127.2 innings over the last two seasons for the Braves. In that stint, he has a 3.95 ERA and a 1.363 WHIP. His main problem has been control. He’s walking just under four batters per nine innings while only striking out 6.6 per nine. Those numbers don’t usually translate to a ton of success. For Delgado to become a top of the rotation guy, he has to either cut down on the walks or come closer to the 9 K/9 number he had in the minors. Most likely, he’s a number four or five guy in a rotation with an above four ERA.

Spruill was a second-round pick in 2008 for the Braves and spent all of 2012 in Double-A Mississippi. He had a 3.67 ERA there and a 1.262 WHIP. Spruill’s upside is limited by his low k-rate – he only struck out 106 batters in 161 innings pitched. Spruill was ranked as the Braves ninth-best prospect on Dec. 10.

Ahmed was a second-round pick by the Braves in 2011 so he only has a year and a half of minor league ball under his belt. He spent all of 2012 in high-A Lynchburg in the Carolina League. He played 128 games at shortstop and served as a DH in two more.

Ahmed, like the other shortstop prospect the D’backs acquired this offseason Didi Gregorius, is a glove-first prospect. He tallied a .269/.337/.391 slash mark with Lynchburg in 2012 but was named the best defensive infielder in the Braves’ system by Baseball America. Ahmed will most likely start 2013 with high-A Visalia Rawhide.

Finally, Drury is sort of a throw in to the deal. He was drafter in the 13th round of the 2010 draft and spent all of 2010 and 2011 in rookie ball. He moved up to Single-A Rome in the South Atlantic League. He played all over the place in 2012, seeing the bulk of his games at first and third but appeared in two games at second and another at short. He’s referred to as a third-base prospect, though. He struggled at the plate in 2012, though. He hit .229 with an awful .270 OBP and an even worse .333 slugging percentage. For a guy that projects at a corner infield spot, he better hit better than that quickly.