by Dave De Wit
News broke Thursday morning that Justin Upton was finally traded. After years of rumors, the 25-year old slugger was dealt to the Atlanta Braves along with third baseman Chris Johnson for third baseman/utility man Martin Prado, right-handed pitcher Randall Delgado and a couple of prospects. With such an exciting deal, everyone wants to know who “won” the trade. From a fantasy perspective, the winner is clear to me: Martin Prado.
Over the past four and a half years Prado has established himself as a source of high average and decent power with multi-positional eligibility. Last year he saw a huge spike in stolen bases (17 steals in 21 attempts) that brought his fantasy value up to a must-start level. Now that he’s traveling across the country, his value will likely be boosted even farther.
For starters, Prado’s multi-positional eligibility could get a little multi-positional-er in Arizona. The Diamondbacks’ off-season quest to find a capable starting shortstop appears to have stopped now that their biggest trade chip is off the table. After all their trades, the D-Backs are left with the mediocre Cliff Pennington and the all-glove, no-bat minor leaguer Didi Gregorius to fill the shortstop position. Considering Prado saw almost 100 innings at short last year for the Braves, he may see some time there in Arizona, opening playing time at third base for Eric Chavez.
Remember, the Diamondbacks signed Jason Kubel and Cody Ross’ bats the past two off-seasons to play ahead of Gerardo Parra’s glove, as well as suffering through countless innings of Willie Bloomquist at short. With a track record of starting good offense ahead of good defense, it seems doubtful that they would have the patience to put up with poor offensive production at shortstop when they can realistically play Prado there part time. If he were to earn shortstop eligibility mid-season (assuming your league allows it), Prado would a top fantasy option at a premium position.
Also, the right-handed hitting Prado will be leaving Turner Field for hitter-friendly Chase Field. In terms of overall run production, the difference between the two parks is only slightly in Arizona’s favor for right-handed hitters according to StatCorner.com. However, the difference in home run production is substantial. Turner Field suppresses homers to righties by 15% while Chase Field enhances right-handed power by 14%. Given Prado’s history of 10-15 home run power and his large number of doubles and triples, he will likely see some help in the power department thanks to his new home out West.
As far as steals go, who knows what caused Prado’s massive jump in stolen bases last year. Before last season he average just over 3 steals per year, so for him to reach 17 steals was remarkable. On paper, the move to Arizona shouldn’t affect his stolen base opportunities. The Diamondbacks attempted a dozen more steals than the Braves did in 2012, and he’ll still be hitting near the top of the order. However, some regression will likely happen regardless of what team he plays for.
Martin Prado was a player worth targeting in 2013 before this trade, and now a move from Hotlanta to the hot desert makes him even more appealing. Even if he doesn’t start the necessary amount of games at shortstop, his third base and outfield eligibility along with his consistent production provides valuable flexibility to any fantasy team.
***** There are now two ways to purchase the Rotoprofessor 2013 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide ( complete with expanded rankings, prospect lists, Top 25 sleepers and so much more)!!
1) Order the guide for $6 2) Make a $10 deposit at FanDuel (if you have never deposited before) and get an additional $10 to play with and the Rotoprofessor Draft Guide Free!
Click here for details!!*****
Make sure to check out all of our 2013 projections:
- Alvarez, Pedro
- Butler, Billy
- Gomez, Carlos
- Gonzalez, Gio
- McCutchen, Andrew
- Miley, Wade
- Teixeira, Mark