Prado gives Marlins options with their batting order
MIAMI -- Adding Martin Prado to the equation gives manager Mike Redmond some interesting decisions to make regarding the Marlins' batting order. It may also impact when slugger Giancarlo Stanton comes to the plate.
It's been pretty much a given Stanton would bat third, with conventional thinking being you want your best hitter guaranteed an at-bat in the first inning and as many at-bats as possible. But Prado has excelled in the No. 2 spot, which raises the question if Stanton will slide down a spot to cleanup?
Having flexibility and versatility can be a good problem for Redmond and the front office.
President of baseball operations Michael Hill was asked about a possible lineup shuffle, with perhaps Prado hitting second, Christian Yelich moving into the No. 3 spot, and Stanton sliding to cleanup.
"I would say we'll see how things unfold in Spring Training," Hill said. "With [Prado's] bat control and knowledge of the strike zone, I don't think we're concerned wherever he ends up in the order. We just know he's going to give us quality at-bats and do tremendous things for us offensively and defensively."
Prado was acquired from the Yankees on Friday in a five-player deal that also brings right-hander David Phelps to Miami. The Marlins parted with Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and prospect Domingo German.
When the Marlins obtained speedster Dee Gordon from the Dodgers at the Winter Meetings, it appeared the top of the batting order was set. Gordon would lead off, Yelich would bat second, with Stanton hitting third and Michael Morse cleaning up.
Chances are the top of the order will look that way, at least initially in Spring Training.
Team officials have said they eventually see Yelich hitting third, once his power emerges. Thus far, the 23-year-old has been a table-setter, not necessarily a run producer.
Yelich led off in 139 of 144 games in 2014. He had 16 plate appearances outside of the top spot, and was 0-for-4 hitting third in a game Stanton didn't start. He has hit third in 25 games in his career, and in 111 plate appearances his slash line is .280/.387/.366, with five doubles, one homer and seven RBIs.
Yelich's overall numbers in 2014 were .284/.362/.402, with nine homers and 54 RBIs.
Prado, meanwhile, has the ability to bat up and down the lineup. This past season, he had at least 30 plate appearances in every spot in the order except leadoff and ninth. His most chances came hitting second, where he batted .299 in 136 plate appearances.
The opposition will clearly see Stanton, but it's only a matter of where in the order.