One of the main things that was lost amongst many D’backs fans who felt that trading Justin Upton was a bad idea, was the fact that Arizona received a former All-Star in return for the talented outfielder in Martin Prado.
September 25, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielderJason Heyward
(22) celebrates with left fielder Martin Prado (14) after scoring in the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Prado, a 2010 National League All-Star and a two-time top-20 finisher for the National League MVP, was acquired by the Diamondbacks along with pitcher Randall Delgado and three other prospects. Prado is one heck of a baseball player in his own right and if you want to know what the Braves lost when they decided to include Prado in the deal, listen to their fans who were despondent that they lost the underrated and well-liked utility man.
Prado has played multiple positions throughout his career. The 28-year-old has played every infield position except pitcher and catcher and both corner outfield positions. This versatility is highly sought after by all clubs as he can continue to be on the field while giving other player’s much needed days off by playing so many different positions.
He is a career .295 hitter and this past season he hit .301 in 156 games for the Braves. He hit 10 home runs, drove in 70 runs and stole 17 bases. He is a fantastic contact hitter that strikes out at a clip of less than 11% for his career. His Runs Above Replacement rating last season was a 51, very good for any player in the big leagues and his Wins Above Replacement last season was a 5.4, higher than that of the player we traded him for, Justin Upton (2.1). Many scouts and experts felt that he was the toughest out in the Braves lineup last season and NL East executives were happy to see him go
His best season was 2010, when he made the National League All-Star team and finished 9th in the MVP voting. That season he hit .307 with 15 home runs and 66 RBI’s. He hit 40 doubles and scored 100 runs during that season for Atlanta.
He is also an excellent fielder. In 2012, Prado played five different positions with the Braves an in all of them he posted a fielding percentage over .980. He played the most games in left field last season (119) and his fielding percentage was a .984. His overall fielding percentage last season was .984 and for his seven-year career it checks in just a little lower, at .981. This is a very solid fielding percentage and one of the reasons why Prado’s addition will help the D’backs in their vision to build a better baseball team.
According to a number of media reports, Prado was loved by his teammates and many feel that while Upton is a more talented player than Prado, the Braves will feel the loss of Prado in the locker room more than anywhere else. He was seen as a team leader and a guy who led by example. His hustle, his desire and his ability to bring those around him together were some of the comments that scouts had when discussing what Atlanta was losing by trading Prado. While Prado still has to prove himself to his new teammates during the spring, I feel that he will fit in just fine and he is everything that GM Kevin Towers and Manager Kirk Gibson want in a player.
You may be upset that Justin Upton is gone and that is understandable because of what he did for the franchise during his years in Arizona. But, you will most likely begin to understand why the D’backs acquired Prado. He is the type of player that gains a fan following quickly because of how he plays the game.
If you are looking for some statistical evidence to back up the trade, Prado does have an edge in a number of statistical categories throughout the two players careers. Prado has a higher career batting average (.295-.278), a higher career fielding percentage (.981-.967) and last year, a higher Wins Above Replacement rating (5.4-2.1) than Upton did.
Overall, D’backs fans should be happy that we got at least one good major league baseball player back for Upton, something we would not have donw if we made the trade with Seattle. Give it time , allow your emotions to subside and allow Prado to prove himself to you as a fan. You will come to appreciate him like so many did in Atlanta.