Predicting the D-backs: Martin Prado Batting Average

Rich Pilling

Probably the biggest new arrival on the 2012 Diamondbacks is Martin Prado, who offers positional flexibility and reduced strikeouts. But how will he hit?

Year G PA AB R H HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2006 24 49 42 3 11 1 9 5 7 .262 .340 .405 .745 91
2007 28 62 59 5 17 0 2 3 6 .288 .323 .339 .662 73
2008 78 254 228 36 73 2 33 21 29 .320 .377 .461 .838 121
2009 128 503 450 64 138 11 49 36 59 .307 .358 .464 .822 117
2010 140 651 599 100 184 15 66 40 86 .307 .350 .459 .809 119
2011 129 590 551 66 143 13 57 34 52 .260 .302 .385 .687 89
2012 156 690 617 81 186 10 70 58 69 .301 .359 .438 .796 114
7 Yrs 683 2799 2546 355 752 52 286 197 308 .295 .345 .435 .780 109
Avg. 162 664 604 84 178 12 68 47 73 .295 .345 .435 .780 109

Over his career, he is close to .300, and only has one season below that since becoming a regular player, in the second half of 2008. He'll likely get a bit of a boost by coming to Chase. While his former home, Turner Field, is at a higher altitude than every MLB park except for Coors and Chase, the climate in Atlanta is an awful lot more humid, with a heavy atmosphere which hampers the ball's progress, stopping it from flying out of there. As a result, while its park factor for singles by right-handed hitters is almost identical to Chase (103 vs. 102), it sucks power away from them the bigger the hit.

By the time you get to homers, Turner has decreased to a factor of 93, while Chase, with its dry heat [roof or no roof!] has gone up to 110, so we should see some more homers and other extra-base hits from Prado. It's a small sample-size (13 games), but this is slightly supported by Prado's career numbers in Arizona. His line here is .319/.370/.447, for an .817 OPS. That compares to .295/.345/.435, a .780 OPS overall, and among the 18 parks where Prado has played 10 or more games, his numbers at Chase Field rank second by OPS, trailing only the Reds' band-box.

[My first thought was to see how the last player to come from Atlanta to Arizona did - Kelly Johnson. However, he's left-handed, while Prado hits right-handed, and it seems apparent that Johnson had other issues, which overshadowed a mere change in park . After hitting .264 with the Braves, it dropped to .252 in his time here, and continued the trend once he moved on to Toronto, where he has batted a paltry .233]

Age shouldn't be much of an issue at this point, with Prado 29 for the entire season [well, technically, he will turn 30 during the World Series - if we're still playing then, I think we'll hardly be concerned!]. His overall health has been good: in the past three seasons, he has had two trips to the disabled list, but there's no reason to think either will recur. In 2010, he missed 16 games after breaking his pinkie diving into home plate, and the following year, he lost more than a month, picking up a nasty staph infection in his right knee, which required surgery [by coincidence, filling in for Prado in left field during the latter was Eric Hinske]. Last year, he started all but eight games.

Here are the projections from the various systems - note, it's not clear whether these reflect his trade to Atlanta or not, so directly comparing them is at your own risk!

  • Steamer: .294/.351/.445 = .796 OPS
  • Bill James: .291/.347/.425 = .772 OPS
  • Oliver: .281/.337/.415 = .752 OPS
  • ZIPS: .293/.342/.434 = .776 OPS
  • CAIRO: .289/.338/.435 = .773 OPS
  • Davenport: .288/.341/.436 = .777 OPS
  • MORPS: .298/.347/.455 = .802 OPS
  • ESPN: .297/.348/.437 = .785 OPS

With the caveat above, the majority appear to be putting Prado in the .290's for batting average, with the average OPS coming out at .779. But where do you think Prado's average will be by the end of the regular season?

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