Martin Prado became the center of attention oddly enough during the Atlanta Braves retirement ceremony for Chipper Jones last Friday. It was the opening game of the Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks series and the night the Braves retired Chipper’s number. Right in the main speech Chipper gave a shout out to Prado, saying that he meant a lot to Jones during his career. Later in the broadcast he spoke on both the Braves and Diamondbacks television broadcasts and gave Prado compliments galore. Is Prado deserving of such high praise?
The short answer is yes. Of course I would like to elaborate. Jones said that if he ever becomes a manager or a general manager he was coming after Prado because that is the kind of guy that helps you win 95 to 100 games. It is kind of difficult to argue with a hall-of-famer as respectable as Chipper so I’ll just agree. The thing is, Prado doesn’t have a high average, a ton of homers or RBI. He doesn’t lead the league in anything that is significantly measured. But he does so much that isn’t recorded in a book.
For example, this year alone for the DBacks Prado has played third base, second base, left field and shortstop. His lowest fielding percentage among all four positions played is .973 and he has only made a total of 6 errors. Think about any team you can remember or just think of this current DBacks team. How incredibly valuable is it to be able to put a player literally at any position in the field and know he will play that position as well as anyone on your team? That opens up so many options it’s incredible.
That doesn’t even include his great at-bats. He has only struck out 32 times all season long which means he has spent time at the plate allowing his teammates to get a look at everything an opposing pitcher has to offer. He might get out more than the teams big slugger but he almost always has the most productive out he can manage. I don’t blame Chipper for wanting Prado. Look at the DBack’s record after all. I think they are headed in the area of 95 – 100 wins this year and one of the main additions is a guy that Chipper says helps a team win that many games. Yeah, that is very difficult to argue with.