After replacing Kelly Johnson during the 2009 season, Martin Prado had a solid debut as an everyday player at second base. Heading into the 2010 season, most felt like Martin would do a solid job, but some worried about his ability to produce over the course of an entire season. Fortunately for Braves fans, Prado was a consistent force in our lineup for a vast majority of the season and would eventually be voted the Braves' offensive MVP for the 2010 season by the Talking Chop readers. Here was the impressive stat line by our Venezuelan:
|2010 - Martin Prado||140||599||100||184||40||3||15||66||40||86||5||3||.307||.350||.459|
For a guy who never had an OPS in the minor leagues higher than .795, it's pretty incredible to see what Prado did this past season. He began the season hitting as our second hitter and didn't disappoint with an OPS of .900 in April. While Martin was certainly experiencing success in the two-hole, the Braves weren't. After weeks of struggling offensively, Bobby Cox moved Martin Prado to the leadoff spot in the order and the team took off immediately.
Prado remained in the leadoff spot for the rest of his season and continued to punish opposing pitchers. If you exclude the final month of the season when he was injured, the lowest OPS Martin posted in any month was .761 in May. Besides May, Prado had an OPS of .900+ in three of the four other months, which established him as one of the top offensive second baseman in the league.
One aspect of his game that wasn't great was his defense. Prado certainly wasn't awful in the field, but advanced stats have him slightly below average at second; he posted a UZR rating of -1.6 and UZR/150 rating of -2.6. Despite these sub-par numbers, fans need to remember that this was Martin's first full season at second base and he's still young enough to improve.
Unfortunately for Martin and the Braves, his season was cut short by injury. After attempting to play through nagging injuries during the first few weeks of September, Prado suffered a severe hip pointer and tore an external oblique muscle on September 27th. There was hope for a quick recovery and return in time for the post-season, but after further tests it was concluded he wouldn't be returning in 2010.
Stat of the Year:
Martin Prado posted an OPS of .883 out of the leadoff spot. Among qualified players, that was the best OPS of any other leadoff hitter in the league.
With the injuries, Prado will be shut down for at least two months before resuming baseball-related activities. All reports are that he's recovering well and he should be ready for Spring Training 2011. Look for Martin to hit leadoff once again next season.