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Martin Prado is one of my favorite players. He’s a solid hitter. He’s roundly overlooked. He’s a versatile option. Many will view his 2013 effort with the D’backs as disappointing and look past him this draft season. You might consider going against the grain and targeting Prado as someone to add in the middle rounds of your mixed league draft. Some background.

Martin Prado is a career .293 hitter. In three of the past five seasons he’s hit at least .301, and four times in that time span he’s hit at least .282. The .282 mark he posted last season is viewed by many as disappointing, but the different between it and hitting .292 is literally one extra hit a month. One. Just one grounder squirting through the infield a month and he bats .292. Think about that before you discount him. It should also be noted that Martin started terribly with his new team last season. Prado hit .217 in April and .209 in June and entered the All-Star break batting .253. He went on to hit .324 over the final 64 games. Bottom line, he’s going to help you in batting average.

Prado isn’t a power hitter and he never will be. He did go deep 14 times last season, his best mark in three seasons and the second best mark of his career (he went deep 15 times in 2010). You don’t draft him for his power.

Prado has driven in at least 70 runs each of the last two seasons. While some were downing Prado for failing to hit .300 last season they were turning a blind eye to the fact that he was a better run producer than he had ever been before. Prado drove in 82 runs in 2013, 12 more than his previous best effort. Not bad at all partner.

Prado isn’t and elite run scorer but he does OK for himself in that category. The past two seasons he’s averaged 76 runs scored a season an over the past four years he’s average run total has been 79. Again, not a world beating number but solid work nonetheless.

Speed? He’s got some an even stole 17 bags in 2012, but given that the other five seasons he’s seen significant playing time in the big leagues he’s failed to eclipse five thefts. It’s pretty easy to note that Prado isn’t going to light the world on fire with his wheels and a run to 10 steals seems possible though rather unlikely to occur.

I can’t believe she could do that even once. Can you?

So what do we have in Prado? Here is what I see, and the data supports my contention even if you don’t want to readily accede to what I have to say easily.

Prado is a .290 hitter.
Prado will reach double-digits in homers.
Prado will drive in 70 runs.
Prado will scored 75 runs.

None of that is elite. But let’s put this effort in perspective. That’s a .290-10-70-75 type of season. That’s reasonable given the totality of his skills right? I think you have to say it is. It should also be noted that Prado has been even better if you look at his career bests. Here they are: .307 with 15 homers, 82 RBIs and 100 runs scored. This fella is starting to get a wee bit intriguing now, isn’t he? This is an especially interesting player for two main reasons.

1 – Prado qualifies at multiple positions. This is the key with Prado. As outfielder he would be a poor play. He does qualify there though in 2014 (he played 30 games in the outfield and started 26 in 2013). Prado also qualifies as a second baseman (32 games, 27 starts). Not satisfied? Neither was Prado. Martin also qualifies at third base in 2014 (113 games, 96 starts). So we have a player who qualifies in the outfield, at second base an at third base. Now we’re cooking with gas. Back to the numbers we touched on above. If Prado goes .290-10-70-75 in 2014 no one would be surprised. How many second base eligible players reached all four of those numbers in 2013? The answer is just three: Matt Carpenter, Jed Lowrie and Robinson Cano. Nice company is it not?

2 – Prado is cheap on draft day. As I’ve been breaking him down it should be pretty clear that Prado is a solid and consistent offensive performer. When you add in that he qualifies at three positions he becomes a wonderful option in NL-only leagues. He’s also a passable play at second base in mixed leagues, an as a middle/corner infield option he’s a very solid play. A bonus that Prado brings is the qualification at both of those spots (MI and CI). You could chose to roster him as your backup at both spots allowing you one more bench spot to add another bat at some other position or to take another shot on a hurler.

After reading this article hopefully you understand why I’m a fan of Prado. He’s not going to lead the league in any category, and truth be told nothing he does jumps off the page. However, he’s a solid contributor offensively, and with his ability to fill multiple spots on a fantasy club he always has a place on my team, especially since he could be overlooked after failing to take off last season. Let others go for the “upside” rookie with the low reliability factor. You should be targeting this veteran as a solid player that you can count on for solid production at a reasonable price.

By Ray Flowers

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