2014 Statistics: (NYY): 37 G, .316/.336/.541, 146 wRC+, 1.4 fWAR
(overall): 143 G, 282/.321/.412, 103 wRC+, 2.6 fWAR
2015 Contract Status: Signed for $11 million per year through 2016
The ever-versatile Martin Prado posted a solid .282/.333/.417 (104 wRC+) showing with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013, but saw his line dip to .270/.317/.370 in 106 games in Arizona this year. Prado's across-the-board decline was largely due to his strikeout rate jumping from 8% to 13%, along with his previously modest power's mysterious disappearance. In spite of these newly-formed warts, the Yankees brought Prado aboard at the trade deadline, hoping to upgrade a lineup that relied far too heavily on the likes of Brian Roberts, Ichiro Suzuki, and Zelous Wheeler.
Prado didn't disappoint. The 30-year-old played mostly second base, but also spent time at third base and the corner outfield spots for the Bombers. And despite only logging 37 games with the team, he was worth over 1 WAR. Prado played sound defense all around the diamond, all while hitting at a .316/.336/.541 clip. Prado got off to something of a slow start, hitting just .163/.217/.256 in his first 13 games as Yankee, but then preceded to go on a tear. Despite dealing with a nagging hamstring injury, Prado was easily the best hitter on the team -- and possibly all of baseball -- from mid-August to mid-September, before a bout of appendicitis ended his season on September 15th.
Prado was great for the Yankees down the stretch, but his performance actually looks a little concerning when analyzed with a finer-tooth comb. His 146 wRC+ was fueled by his power output (.226 ISO) and luck on balls in play (.340 BABIP). Both of these things tend to be fluky in small samples, and they were uncharacteristically high for Prado. Meanwhile, Prado's plate discipline seemed to take a turn for the worse upon arriving in the Big Apple. He swung at way more pitches out of the zone than ever before, which lead to disappointing strikeout (17% K%) and walk (2% BB%) numbers. This approach seemed to work for Prado over this small sample, but it'll be something to keep an eye on going forward.
Prado's under contract for the next two seasons, and will surely be an integral part of the Yankees lineup in 2015, but it's not clear what position he'll play. That'll likely depend on how the Yankees address their third base situation this offseason, and also on the development of second base prospect Rob Refsnyder. However things shake out defensively, Prado should be good for about a league-average offensive season. His full-season 2014 stat line of .282/.321/.412 (including his games with Arizona and New York) is probably a decent predictor.