Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Martin Prado Does It All, But All Is Not Enough

Braves prospect Martin Prado this spring has batted .381 with a .426 on-base and .524 slugging percentage; has hit six doubles while striking out only four times in 42 at-bats and played spectacular defense. In other words, he has done everything necessary to win the starting second base job -- but win it.

Expect Prado to lose out to Kelly Johnson, the 38th overall pick in 2000 whose arm has been surgically repaired after it blew out in Johnson's attempt to convert to the outfield last year. Johnson will win the job because he long ago was envisioned as the player who would make it possible for the team to save $6 million a year by letting veteran pivot Marcus Giles depart to San Diego.

Johnson is hitting a more pedestrian .262 in spring play, but projects as a top middle infield power source, though his career thus far has been truncated.

All that remains now is to determine not whether Prado deserves to make the club, but whether room can be found for him as a reserve on a very crowded roster.