When most people think about the players that have led to the recent mini-resurgence of the Miami Marlins, the names that come to mind are obvious and apparent: Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Justin Bour, to name a few. But when you look a little bit closer, there seems to be one cog of consistency leading the school of fish back to relevancy: Martin Prado.
Obviously, when looking at flashy numbers alone, Prado hardly jumps off the page. But said numbers alone are hardly the recipe for winning; it takes a multitude of variables, including those numbers, consistency, leadership, and an overarching hunger to win, and that is what Prado brings to Miami every single day. And this is not to say Prado does not bring the numbers to Miami — as of writing this article, he holds the second highest fWAR on the Marlins at a 3.2, which is also good for fifth in the National League; he leads the Marlins in hits with 161; and he currently has a batting average of .319, trailing only the ridiculous batting averages of DJ LeMahieu and Daniel Murphy in the NL.
Additionally, a number that is constantly overlooked is number of at-bats — and, more importantly, what is accomplished with those at-bats, as alluded to above. Consistency plays a large part in any team’s success, as it is difficult to get any sort of rhythm going when forced to change a lineup day-in and day-out. Prado currently sits at fifth in the NL in at-bats, in addition to all he has been able to accomplish offensively this season, and this often is taken for granted. Just look at the “obvious” Marlins names above as a prime example: Stanton and Bour are currently injured and sitting at 381 and 213 at-bats, respectively, and while Ozuna is having surprisingly impressive 2016 season, he has yet to prove whether he is the player of 2016 or the mediocre version of 2015. Thus, while impressive when in the lineup, would you rather have a Giancarlo for half of every season, or a Prado for a full season, knowing what you are going to get?
Finally, Prado’s leadership capabilities and desire to help the team win cannot be overlooked. Tracing back to his days with the Atlanta Braves, he actually had to force himself to train less to avoid burnout, as he was the first man in the weight room and the last man to leave. Plus, he has always been willing to learn anything to help the team win, whether that be learning every position on the field or learning the English language through watching subtitles. One of the most convincing statements as to the respect Prado has garnered came from relatively well-known third baseman Chipper Jones, who, on the night dedicated to his retirement, took a moment to describe Prado as having had “a tremendous influence on [his] career.”
For the skimmers of you out there, this video sums it up: Martin Prado is a man who can do it all.