Jason Heyward, Back to His Old Self

Depending on where you stood, Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward was either the number one or two prospect heading into the 2010 season. He made the opening day roster and impressed right out of the gate. His 5.1 WAR for that season rank in the top 15 all-time for a season by a 20 year old. In no time the lofty comparisons arose, most notably by former Braves Manager Bobby Cox. Cox said that Heyward reminded him of Braves all-time great, Hank Aaron. That was a lofty comparison, but if anyone could live up to it, it was Heyward. After a great rookie year, Heyward struggled though but appears to be back this season. Let’s take a look at Heyward’s journey the past couple seasons and how he returned back to dominance. Continue reading

Prospect Watch: Julio Teheran

The #5 rated MLB prospect the past two seasons, Julio Teheran has quickly risen through the minor league ranks.  Last year, at age 20, he spent a full season in AAA, aside from three spot starts for the Atlanta Braves.  His AAA stats look sparkling, a 15-3 record with a 2.55 ERA, but there were some causes for concern that have shown themselves this year. Continue reading

What Yadier Molina and History Means for Brian McCann

Yesterday it was announced that the St. Louis Cardinals, and Yadier Molina agreed to a 5 year extension, that will pay him $75 million dollars. After the 2013 season Brian McCann is expected hit the free agent market. When he does he will be 30 years old. Based on the contract that Molina received, what kind of contract could Brian McCann expect? Continue reading

2012 Outlook: Atlanta Braves

My poor Braves forgot how to play baseball in September, going 5-15 the last 20 games, ending up missing the wild card with an 89-73 record.  There is almost zero turnover on the roster, with all but one player on the 40-man roster being in the organization last year.  High-leverage hitting was a major factor in their late demise, hitting nearly 30% below average with runners on third base.  Two top starters also missed September due to injury, which also hurt the club.  2012 will be a challenge with such a deep NL East to compete with. Continue reading

The Twins Should Trade for Martin Prado

After signing SS/2B Jeremy Carroll to a two year deal the Twins now need to make a trade for Atlanta Braves 2B/3B Martin Prado. The Twins were decimated with injuries last season and suffered from poor play in the infield, particularly the middle infield. He may not be the prototypical Minnesota infielder but he can make the team much better by being put into their offense.

Last year the Twins got horrible production from second base. From second base they got a .287 OBP and a total of 1.3 WAR which is pretty pathetic. Prado would add a nice right handed bat to the line-up sliding either behind Justin Morneau or behind Denard Span, he wouldn’t contribute much defensively though. Before last year Prado put up WARs of 4.4 and 3.2 showing that last year was most likely a fluke. Prado did have a down year but that was mainly due to a case of bad luck. His slash line last year was .260/.302/.385 and his power seemingly went away, he only had a .125 ISO compared to his .141 career ISO. His .296 wOBA was also well below his .337 career wOBA. Compared to his career BABIP of .315 last year’s .266 was a dissapointment. The .049 differential is pretty significant and he should see that climb.

 Normally Prado is a pretty good line drive hitter but last year he really struggled with hitting line drives. His career LD% is 18.9% and last year it was only 14.6%. Those line drives turned into ground balls and flyballs. His GB% increased 2.3%, going from 48.5% to 50.8% and his FB% went from 30.5 % to 34.6%.

Let’s take a look at what Prado could do next season assuming his BABIP returns to his career average or close to it with this spreadsheet that I made.

xBABIP has him returning to his normal BABIP of .315 making a bounce back season all the more likely. xAVG, xOBP and xSLG have him at .303/.343/.428 putting him at the production he was giving in 2010.

Financially Prado is projected to make $4.4 million dollars next season and for what he can do that’s not very expensive at all. The next two seasons Prado should be able to produce WARs of 3 and 3.5 respectively making him worth $32.5 million dollars in value. For what he’s getting paid he’d be a steal. Prado wouldn’t be too expensive, probably costing a tier two prospect and possibly a tier three. With only $7.9 million tied up with Carroll and Prado Minnesota would still have a little over $20 million dollars to sign a back-up catcher, outfielder and possibly two pitchers.

In the end, if Minnesota can get Martin Prado, possibly with a package involving one of their outfield prospects they should pull the trigger. xBABIP shows that Prado should make a comeback and if Minnesota can get him when his value is low they need to do it.