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Is There More Power In Prado's Bat?

Martin Prado exploded onto the scene last year with 100 runs and a .307 AVG. His 15 HR were good for a second baseman but if he can increase that number he would be among the game's top second basemen in 2011. Prado turned 27 during the World Series so he is the right age for a power outburst. Can he hit 20 long balls and be one of the top 5 keystones in the game?

With a career .307 AVG he has proven that skill and he will hit near the top of the Braves order so he could make a run at 100 runs again. With no speed he risks being a two category player without the power, however. He has 38 and 40 doubles the past two seasons so he teases us with more home runs to come but with no power in the minors he may have hit his peak. At 6'1" 190 lbs he doesn't have the frame for huge numbers.

His ISO has remained fairly steady the past three years with marks of .140, .158 and .152 so it looks like Prado may have reached his power limit. His HR/FB was a career high 9.5% in 2010 but he should be able to maintain that or come close but I doubt he can top it. If we are to see any increase in power it would have to be accompanied by a surge in FB% after he posted a career low 30.5% last year. If he maintains the HR/FB rate while bringing the FB% back around 36% he could have a shot at 18-20 HR.

Prado missed 22 games last year so there is room for improvement there as well. Even if he doesn't get the FB% back up or his HR/FB drops to his career rate of 7.1% he should be able to match last year's 15 HR if he simply plays a full season.

At the right age for a power outburst and with room for improvement Prado should be counted on repeating his power numbers from a year ago and stands a chance of building on them. At the very least you will get a .300 hitter with a dozen home runs hitting at the top of a strong Braves lineup. With so many question marks at second Prado has become one of the safer bets due to his established skill as a .300 hitter and primo spot in the Braves lineup..