It's no question that the Atlanta Braves are desperate for Dan Uggla and Brian McCann to start producing like they are capable. However, perhaps there is no more important Braves position player than Martin Prado, who's proving to be one of the most clutch hitters in all of baseball.
Prado's ability to play any position on the field is without question, highlighted by a stretch this season that saw the super-utility man start or play in 7 different positions over an 11 game period earlier the season. League executives and other evaluators around the league are starting to pick-up on Prado's ability to get on base and put the ball in to play, making him even more important to the Braves lineup.
The most dangerous part of Prado's game? When runners ahead of him in the lineup reach second and third base respectively where Prado's hitting .429 and combined with his slugging percentage, his OPS is 1.400, higher than any other Braves player in the lineup. He's nearly as deadly at the plate when there is runner only at third, batting .316. He's been able to keep ducks on the pond by maintaining a torrid .400 batting average when there are Braves on the first and third bases. Martin reaches superstar statistics when the bases are loaded, hitting a whopping .444 with 14 RBI's.
Prado again tightens up in the batters box when he's up to bad with one or two outs in the an inning. Prado's currently hitting .263 when there are no-outs, but sees his average improve to .322 and .318 when there are one or two outs, respectively, in the inning. The greatest sample size, when Martin bats with one down in the inning, with 230 AB's, sees him hitting .322 with a .371 OBP.
If that isn't enough to impress you, his splits when the game is late (meaning eighth inning or above), and close (meaning the Braves are within three runs), Prado's proving to be a tough-out, batting .309 with just 3 K's over 55 AB's.
The Braves have come to know Prado as someone with the potential to win a batting title someday but not even Fredi Gonzalez could have predicted how clutch Prado would be with runners on base.
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