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Prado provides steady hand on field, in clubhouse

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- When Martin Prado talks, the Marlins listen.

The 32-year-old third baseman is one of the most respected players, not just on the Marlins, but around the league. Prado brings so much professionally, but manager Don Mattingly quickly points out the veteran infielder is still productive.

JUPITER, Fla. -- When Martin Prado talks, the Marlins listen.

The 32-year-old third baseman is one of the most respected players, not just on the Marlins, but around the league. Prado brings so much professionally, but manager Don Mattingly quickly points out the veteran infielder is still productive.

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"All the intangibles are great, but this guy can play," Mattingly said. "He can hit. He hits all kinds of pitching. He uses the whole field. ... His defense last year was Gold Glove-caliber. He's a valuable guy."

Video: MIA@PHI: Prado ties the game with a triple in the 9th

In so many ways, Prado impacts the Marlins -- on the field and in the clubhouse.

Last year, when the Marlins went through so much confusion, Prado's level-headed leadership helped hold the club together.

The 2015 Marlins underwent an unconventional managerial change when Mike Redmond was replaced by Dan Jennings, who never coached or managed at the professional level before. It created an awkward clubhouse culture.

As tough as the season was, the Marlins did show improvement, and they won 17 of their last 29 to secure a third-place finish in the National League East. Prado played a big role down the stretch.

"People talk about last year being a bad year, but we got a lot of positive stuff from last year," Prado said. "One of the positive things was the attitudes guys were willing to bring to the stadium. That's contagious. I think everybody got on the same page, and they were committed to winning. That's the thing I noticed."

Like the rest of the team, Prado's production picked up at the end. He finished with a .288 batting average with nine home runs and 63 RBIs. His production soared after the All-Star break, as his slash line was .305/.364/.419 with five home runs and 39 RBIs in the second half. In September, Prado was a blistering .395/.449/.526.

One reason for the turnaround was health. Prado spent time on the disabled list in the first half due to a right shoulder injury.

"I think when everybody is healthy, they're not getting distracted by stuff around them," Prado said. "They feel more comfortable. They go out there and just perform. You've got to perform, no matter what. If you don't feel comfortable, you're not going to perform well."

Having an experienced manager like Mattingly and a seasoned coaching staff that includes Tim Wallach (bench), Barry Bonds (hitting) and Juan Nieves (pitching) also sent a signal to the clubhouse that the organization is committed to building the franchise the right way.

"The biggest impact is letting guys know they can't be worried about the decisions by the manager and the coaching staff," Prado said. "These guys have so much experience that we don't have to worry about that. The thing we can control now is going out there and playing ball.

"One of the things Don has already mentioned is he wants us to give 100 percent every day. He expects to win every day. That's the attitude we're trying to create."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Martin Prado