2015 ZiPS Projections: Martin Prado


Martin Prado was one of the Miami Marlins most significant acquisitions this offseason. In December, the New York Yankees sent Prado and David Phelps to the Marlins in exchange for Nathan Eovaldi and the ineffective Garrett Jones.

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Prado represents a sizeable upgrade at third base, over Casey McGehee who played 160 games at the hot corner in 2014. The fans and Marlins loved McGehee for his “clutch” hits and his .279 batting average looks nice, but when you delve a bit deeper into his stats, McGehee wasn’t really anything to write home about last season.

McGehee spent most of the year hitting cleanup behind Giancarlo Stanton, and hit .287/.355/.357 with a .319 wOBA and 102 wRC+. He was still good for a 2.0 fWAR, but also grounded into more double plays than any other player and hit for virtually no power earlier in his career (four home runs, .070 ISO). He was aided by a .335 BABIP, and struggled mightily in the second half of the season, which must have rendered him expendable by the Marlins; the team traded McGehee in December to the San Francisco Giants for a pair of minor leaguers.

In Prado, the Marlins get a much more well-rounded hitter and a positive-WAR defender. He is a career .290/.340/.429 108 OPS+ hitter, and in 2014, Prado slashed .282/.321/.412 with 12 home runs, a .324 wOBA and 103 wRC+. Those are strikingly similar numbers to Casey McGehee, with Prado reaching base less but showing more pop with the bat. They both strike out at similar rates (both right around 14%) but Prado draws walks at a paltry 4.5% compared to McGehee’s 9.7%.

Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS system projects a similar season for Prado in 2015, a .280/.327/.394/97 OPS+ with 10 home runs and 67 strikeouts in 148 games. The slight dip in power could be attributed to playing half his games in the cavernous dimensions of Marlins Park. He projects for three defensive runs and a 2.6 WAR, the same mark he posted last season.

The Marlins knew the player they were getting in Martin Prado, and it’s certainly a productive one. Third base has been a relative black hole on this team for years (with due respect to Casey McGehee) and now the Marlins have a solid starter for at least the next two years. And the best part is the Yankees are on the hook for $3 million of Prado’s $11 million annual salary each of the next two years.

Prado projects to bat sixth in the lineup, possibly flanking Marcell Ozuna and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He could also bat second because he makes great contact and doesn’t strike out a ton. Mike Redmond will have some flexibility, and has said that he will experiment with some different lineup ideas.

With Casey McGehee now in San Francisco and expected to regress some to a .301 wOBA and 1.7 fWAR, the Marlins probably upgraded at third base by a full win. The team will need a healthy and consistent Martin Prado all season; they don’t have many options behind him.

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