The past five years
Prad-ing the Offense
Martin Prado finished 2013 with a line of .282./.333/.417. If you look at that in a vacuum for a generic player, you'd probably say "Hey, that's pretty solid." or something like that (other adjectives to use might have been "good", "decent", "cool", "superfly", or "Like David Foster Walace's 'Infinite Jest', oh let me link you to my 15,000 word thinkpiece on it...")
However, getting there was like slogging through the aforementioned thinkpiece (Martin Prado shares the same initials as Michael Pemulis. THINK ABOUT IT!) That line at the end of the first half of the season was a less-impressive .253/.303/.668. This was frustrating, as he was the shiny prize from the Justin Upton deal, and for a lot of that first half of the season, Upton was homering at a fairly impressive frequency. So much that every time you checked Twitter, every new-school Baseball writer was like "HA HA GRIT GOBBLE SNARF FART I'M SMARTER THAN YOU BECAUSE OF THESE JOKES." However, Prado turned up the wick in July and August, showing why he was worth trading for.
Prado himself has mentioned that he might have been too hard on himself, trying to live up to being the guy traded for a former face of the franchise. I can understand that, and he certainly made up for it later in the season. There's also the transition from Atlanta to Phoenix as an everyday place to live. You see, in Atlanta, every sit-down restaurant is a Waffle House, and as anybody who has been to a Waffle House anywhere can tell you, bad things can and will go down there at a moment's notice and you have to be ready to dive behind the counter. In Phoenix, there are other places to eat, but it might take someone a bit to adjust to just eating out normally without fear.
(This has been this week's edition of "Clefo plays into regional stereotypes. Next week: Fresno!)
The above projection systems have Prado having a similar year to last. It kind of feels like they just took his 2013 numbers and changed them around slightly in a few ways to make it look like work was done. It's not hard to imagine that Prado could do way better than that, if his mid-season surge last year and his destroyer-of-worlds act this spring so far are any indication.
If there's any knock on Prado, even during his hot streak, is that he has a propensity for hitting into double plays. He hit into 29 last year, and they were fairly evenly distributed between the first and second halves of the season (15-14). He's still probably going to get his fair share, since he's pretty much a pure contact hitter, but it would be nice if more of those possible GIDP balls would find holes. Hit and Runs with Prado up wouldn't be the worst idea. Get on that, Gibby.
Prado is the guy at Third Base now and for the next few years. Matt Davidson being dealt to the White Sox affirms that. If Prado can have a consistent season at the plate and not start off slowly, then he'll be part of what can be a pretty solid offensive core with Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Hill for the Diamondbacks. That would make people happy.