Growing up in Venezuela, Prado was a Braves fan.
"There are a lot of people in Venezuela who follow the Braves," Martin said. "We got some of the games on television. Chipper Jones is a huge guy in Venezuela. At the time when Andres Galarraga played for the Braves (1998-2000) was when people in Venezuela really followed the Braves, and Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones became really popular."
Martin's parents divorced when he was 9 years old.
"I have two older brothers, Pedro and Emerson, and an older sister, Caroline. They live in Maracay (Venezuela)," Prado said. "I also have a sister on my Dad's side."
"My mother, Irma—she never missed a game—not even close. In 15 years growing up playing ball, she never missed a game."
Martin's mother was known to be tough. A single mother, she was known for taking extreme measures to keep her children in line. After a 14-year-old Martin lingered one night at a party where he'd been playing drums that are used in Venezuelan music, his mom showed up unannounced and dragged him away.
"That's why my chidren are good people," she said.
"Here comes Irma!" became a common refrain among Prado's friends.
Sent to play center field, a bored young Martin would cross his arms and daydream—because the kids never hit the ball there. One day, he was daydreaming again when a shout woke him from his distracted state.
"Stop picking your nose, boy!" His mother had come over to loudly and publicly chastise him. A suddenly smaller Prado shouted back, "Mom, don't yell at me like that!"
But Martin's mother was just as supportive as she was tough. She fixed her son's spikes and sewed his baseball pants when the family couldn't afford new equipment. (Jose Orozco-ChopTalk-January 2009)
Prado was never dead-set on becoming a pro ballplayer. He enrolled in a local university's mechanical engineering department, hoping to play ball as he studied. But longtime Reds' scout Felix Delgado persuaded Martin to devote three months to baseball training, followed by a series of tryouts. The Reds even offered a bonus of $1,500 for him to sign. But Martin decided he would be better off in school.
Eventually, in February 2001, Martin signed with Braves scouts Rolando Petit and Julian Perez out of Venezuela, following a tryout. His bonus was $5,500.
Prado is a fearless competitor. He plays the game hard, with a gritty, all-out approach. He loves to play the game.
And he is the consummate teammate. Chipper Jones once said Prado was the best teammate he'd ever had.
Martin was asked what he's be doing if he weren't a baseball player:
"I always wanted to be an engineer. I went to college for six months, but I decided that I would pursue baseball." Prado said. "Now I think I would want to be a baseball coach. I'd like to teach little guys how to play ball. If I couldn't be a coach, maybe I could be a surfer."
When Martin is not at the park, he says, "I like to sleep a lot. I like watching movies. If I have family in town, I love that. I enjoy just being around them. I like to take my mom to lunch at a rea restaurant. She cooks for me every day when she's here," Prado said.
Prado was asked what the best piece of advice he had ever received was: "Three things—respect older people, listen to what they have to say, and be on time.
"There are always people that are wiser," Martin said. "Maybe their advice would save your life."
Before 2005 spring training, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Martin as 28th-best prospect in the Atlanta farm system.
In the spring of 2006, the book had Prado as the 17th-best prospect in the Braves' organization.
In 2007 and 2008, Prado was not in the top 30 for the Braves.
In 2007, Prado led all full-season players in the Atlanta Braves organization with a .316 average—good enough to rank second in the International League.
In the 9th inning of the September 12, 2007, game against the New York Mets, Prado hit a ball in play and, upon dropping his bat to head towards first base, the bat stood perfectly upright. SportsNet New York commentator Keith Hernandez described the incident as one "that would never happen in a hundred years."
Martin never shares the goals he sets before a season. "My goals are very personal," Prado said. "I don't like to share them. I'm a very private person in that regard."
During the offseason before 2010 spring training, Prado started his days from October through December with running at 7:00 a.m. before going on to weightlifting, spinning (exercise bike), medicine ball exercises to keep him flexible and loose, and taking fielding and batting practice, wrapped around a lunch break at home, eating his mother's cooking.
And he ratcheted up his conditioning by tackling the demanding P90X (Power 90 Extreme) program, which combines power strength and flexibility.
"It made my workout program so much better. I lost 14 pounds. I saw what great shape Matt Diaz was in (during 2009) after doing it. I wanted to quit after the first week. I said, 'This is too hard! But I kept doing it," Prado said.
- In February 2011, Braves' strength and conditioning coach Phil Falco beams with pride when asked about the dedication shown by Prado, who arrived at the spring training complex around 6:30 a.m. every day and exited at approximately 3:00 p.m., about 90 minutes after most of his teammates.
"I'm trying to do everything I can to be able to go home and say, 'I did whatever it takes,' " Prado said. "I don't want to go home and think, 'I could have done better.' "
"There are some points where you want to say, 'Slow down,'" Falco said. "But that's basically him and that's what makes him go like he does. He's got that one speed, and that's to give everything he's got and work as hard as he can. He's got a great intensity level. He's a pleasure to work with. If I had 100 guys like that, it would be the easiest job in America."
You can tell Martin you think he's a good guy—tell him you think he plays hard. He'll like that. There is one compliment he'll value even more than that, though.
"I like to think about baseball 24 hours [a day]," Prado said. "I know for sure after baseball, there's a life that I have to live, but I'm making sure that when I walk out of the game, I look back and say I did everything I could to get better and to win. It's good when they say that when you play, your team wins. That's the best compliment you can get in baseball. That means you put in that good energy and create that positive momentum for the team. So I'm trying to be that guy." (3/27/13)
Prado's time with the Braves came to an end in late January, 2013, when he was dealt to the D-backs in a deal that involved Justin Upton going to Atlanta. Despite being an established veteran, Prado talked openly early in camp about his nerves as he tries to fit in with his new teammates.
"The main thing for me right now is I feel like I'm starting all over again," Prado said. "I have to build that confidence and that respect from all my teammates and coaches again. That's hard. They can hear about me, but if they don't see it from me every day, they will doubt it, and I don't want people doubting."
While Prado bounced around the field defensively in Atlanta, the D-backs see him as their everyday third baseman and expect him to spend most games as the No. 2 hitter in their lineup.
Prado is a perfectionist, constantly looking to get better, and he can wind up being pretty tough on himself—so much so that manager Kirk Gibson pulled him aside for a talk during batting practice a week before the end of spring training.
"Don't put any pressure on yourself because you're new to this team," Gibson said. "Everybody gets it. Beyond what you do on the field, you're unbelievable off the field." (Steve Gilbert-MLB.com-3/27/13)
His first name is Josh. D-backs third baseman Martin Prado doesn't know his last name, only that he's a special-needs Phillies fan whom he became acquainted with five or six years ago, when Prado was still with the Braves.
They talk almost every time Prado comes to Philadelphia. The night of August 24, 2013, though, was different. After presenting Josh with a bat, Prado said he would hit a home run, then point to him afterward.
"I don't know why," Prado said. "I was just talking to him, and it just came to my mind. I just said it. At that moment, it just felt good to tell him that."
Sure enough, with two out in the first inning, Prado launched a two-run homer off Phillies rookie starter Ethan Martin. And as he rounded the bases, he pointed to Josh and his family sitting behind third base.
"That's just one of the times that shows you that words can be powerful. I'm glad that it made his day," Prado said. "He's a special kid. I told him before the game, 'Hey, Josh, where are you going to sit?' And he told me where his family was going to be. So I said, 'I promise you I'm going to hit a homer and I'm going to point at you.' It was a good feeling. Bringing that kind of moment for him and a lot of people, that's what we're here for."
The two met through former Braves outfielderJeff Francoeur. And here's the really amazing part: This was the second time in the 2013 season Prado has called his shot. Earlier this season, at Chase Field, he was introduced to another special needs fan through teammate Willie Bloomquist, told him he'd hit a homer for him . . . and delivered. (Paul Hagen - MLB.com - 8/24/13)
During his time with the Braves, Prado was practically revered in the clubhouse for his approach to the game. Former Braves third baseman, Chipper Jones called Prado the ultimate teammate. When Prado reported to Arizona for spring training in 2013, he said he hoped to win the respect of his new teammates. This surprised many of them, since in their minds, he already had it.
"I was thinking [early on] that we could win the game [with] just me doing good," Prado said. "Now I realize that we're nine guys, it's not like I have to do everything. So I just realized that we've got to win as a team and it's not about me."
"I think he was almost so team-oriented early, he was always trying to move runners over and giving away at-bats at times just to try and advance runners," general manager Kevin Towers said. "I think as he got more comfortable, he's been a little more aggressive at the plate. He's swinging it now. He's still getting runners over at times, but he's driving in runs."
"Individual numbers at the end of the day really don't matter," Prado said. "I don't want to be the guy that they say, 'He had good numbers, but his team never won.' If we win and accomplish a lot as a team, then I'll look at my numbers, but not until we have success as a team." (Gilbert - mlb.com - 9/12/13)
In the 9th inning of the September 12, 2007 game against the Mets, Prado hit a ball in play and, upon dropping his bat to head towards first base, the bat stood perfectly upright. Commentator Keith Hernandez described the incident as one "that would never happen in a hundred years."
During struggles at the plate in 2014, Prado received no shortage of advice, including some from his mother, who came to town in June, but had already been talking to him regularly on the phone.
"She's always trying to fix my swing," Prado said. "I said, 'Mom, you don't know anything about my swing.' She always has the right words to make me feel better and to help me understand clearly. Even when I struggle, she still thinks I'm the best."
Except when it comes to his swing, of course.
"She told me two days ago she was watching one of our games and, 'It looks like you're too close to home plate. You should separate from home plate,'" Prado said. "I said, 'Mom, I was separate from home plate, now I'm getting closer to home plate." (Gilbert - mlb.com - 5/29/14)
June 2014: Prado reflected on the 1,000th hit of his career. The hit came in the ninth inning, when he drilled a pitch over the wall in left for a home run. Prado did not even know it was a milestone hit.
D-backs clubhouse assistant Lupe Uribe mentioned to Prado when he returned to the dugout that they were working on getting the ball back for him, and Prado was initially confused as to why.
After the game, Prado traded an autographed bat for the ball.
"I never thought I was going to get it," Prado said of hit No. 1,000. "Just to see it from when you start at one all the way to 1,000. That's a lot of hits. I can't imagine those guys that have 3,000 hits. Hall of Famers. It's a good accomplishment in my career and I'm going to keep moving on." (Gilbert - mlb.com - 6/15/14)
August 2, 2014: Martin Prado said that he had been aware of the trade rumors swirling around his name. So when his cell phone buzzed with an incoming call from an unknown number, the veteran infielder-outfielder was not surprised.
One destination that Prado hadn't considered, however, was the Yankees. That was the part that caught him off guard. But as he joined his new club with the assignment of playing right field every day, Prado said that he'd make sure that he is ready for the change.
"It's been a while since I've played right field, but I told [the Yankees] that I'm open for it—to help my teammates, help my team win games," Prado said. "Whatever I have to do, I will prepare myself for any challenge to help the team win."
Prado said that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman explained the situation to him. In addition to right field, manager Joe Girardi said that he could use Prado at second base, third base, and in left field.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge," Prado said. "I just said, 'The only thing I want is to give me a heads-up on the things you want to do with me, and I will prepare myself for that.'
"When I was with the Braves, always when I went to play against the Mets, I was, 'Oh, man. It's crowded,'" Prado said. "I didn't like the crowded stuff. I was like, 'I don't like the city,' but I always took my family because they'd never been in New York. But I've got a lot of friends in New York and they've been around, so I'm getting to like the city." (Bryan Hoch - MLB.com - 8/2/2014)
Dee Gordon sees it. Each day, Marlins third baseman Martin Prado goes about his business, not in a vocal way but in a manner that isn't lost on Gordon.
"I think he's our team captain, honestly," Gordon said. "I think other guys in here feel the same way, just about the way he goes about his day—day in and day out—and we try to follow his lead. You watch the way he goes about it, and it's always professional."
"Martin has definitely stepped up in every facet," manager Dan Jennings said. "He's become the go-to guy in the clubhouse and taken ownership and leadership. Plus, his play on the field has been huge. He's stepped it up both in the clubhouse and on the field, and I think that's reflective of how we're playing."
Prado's presence will be key when the Marlins, with their numerous young core players, try to regroup from a disappointing injury-riddled 2015 season. Gordon is certainly one of those players Prado has impacted.
"We talk a lot, just how to be a professional," Dee said. "I try to latch on to other older guys like himself. So he's mentored me every day here and I'm definitely thankful for Prado."
"I don't feel like the leader, exactly," Martin said. "I just feel like a big part of it. We're 25 guys and, of course, there's going to be guys with more experience. The only thing that I would say is that they see me going out there every day, so I just try to be an example for them."
The veteran Prado has gained the respect of the clubhouse, as he is leading a young Marlins team that has played better baseball since the Trade Deadline. As a small example of that respect, watch the ball after the third out of every defensive inning for Miami, and it immediately goes to the captain (as Gordon called Prado) to toss into the stands.
"You got to play. It's a game," Prado said. "Maybe you don't find your spot, you don't find your swing—and then at some point in the season, it clicks. I just feel like there's a lot of things left to accomplish." (Wilaj - mlb.com - 9/10/15)
When Martin talks, the Marlins listen. Prado 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.
"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."
In so many ways, Prado impacts the Marlins—on the field and in the clubhouse. In 2015, 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.
"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." (Frisaro - MLB.com - 2/25/16)
April 23-26, 2016: Martin was on the paternity list. His daughter was born on the 22nd of April, in Florida.
Prado is just a beautiful person. He hugs and loves everybody. You don't have to be important or a famous person to get his love and attention. Gate attendants or the lady in the cleaning department get the same response.
October 2, 2016: Martin wears many hats on the Marlins. The veteran third baseman this season was a team leader, a club spokesman, as well as a .300 hitter.
In Miami's season finale against Washington at Nationals Park, Prado not only started at third base, he also was the club's ceremonial manager for the day. After after the Marlins lost, 10-7, Prado said he will never second-guess a manager again.
"I can describe this day like after Ichiro [Suzuki] first pitched [last season]," Prado said. "After he pitched, and got hit pretty hard, he was like, 'I don't want to pitch any more.' Sometimes you question managers and guys making decisions. Now that I was in that spot, only for one game, I don't know if I can do it. There is so much stuff. The game speeds up for you. I won't ever say anything bad about any manager."
The concept of having players coach and manage the final game is something manager Don Mattingly picked up from during his days with the Yankees and Dodgers. Since the game wasn't going to impact the postseason standings in any way, Prado was assigned managerial duties for the day.
Many feel Prado will be a manager at some point in the future and he got a taste of it. In baseball history, there have been a number of player-managers, including Joe Torre, Frank Robinson and Pete Rose.
"That used to happen all the time in the past," Mattingly said. "Martin seems like he could be one of those guys."
Even though the decisions were made by the players, the coaching staff was still in the dugout.
"We're all going to be here," Mattingly said. "It's not like we're all going to go in and watch football. We'll be out here. We're not going to let anybody get hurt or not warmed up or anything like that." (Frisaro - MLB.com)
January 2017: Prado committed to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
February 2001: Following a tryout, Martin signed with Braves scouts Rolando Petit and Julian Perez, out of Venezuela. His bonus was $5,500.
- January 18, 2011: Prado and the Braves avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a $3.1 million for 2011.
January 13, 2012: Martin signed a $4.75 million contract with the Braves.
January 24, 2013: The Diamondbacks traded OF Justin Upton and 3B Chris Johnson to Atlanta; acquiring Prado, RHP Randy Delgado, RHP Zeke Spruill, SS Nick Ahmed, and 1B Brandon Drury.
Why did the Braves trade Prado? When they attempted to negotiate a multiyear deal with Prado, they quickly learned that he was looking for an average annual salary of close to $12 million. That is certainly much higher than Atlanta would have been willing to spend.
Then, in January 2013, the Braves were not able to reach an arbitration agreement with Prado. Atlanta offered to go as high as $6.9 million to avoid a hearing, but Prado's side was unwilling to come below $7 million. That was a nasty preview of what could have been tough free-agent negotiations next winter.
Then, on January 31, 2013, Prado and the D'Backs agreed on a four-year, $40 million contract, avoiding salary arbitration.
July 31, 2014: The Yankees acquired INF/OF Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks in exchange for minor-leaguer Peter O'Brien.
December 20, 2014: The Marlins sent P Nathan Eovaldi, OF Garrett Jones, and P Domingo German to the Yankees; acquiring Prado and P David Phelps.
- Oct 5, 2016: Martin signed a three-year contract extension with the Marlins worth a reported $40 million.
|Birth City:||Maracay, Venezuela|
|Draft:||2001 - Braves - Free agent|
- Prado is a classic example of a player who's better than his individual tools would suggest. He consistently puts the ball in play, allowing him to hit for a high batting average. He won't hit many home runs, but he could become a solid #2 hitter.
- Martin does a great job of moving runners along.
- Prado has a short stroke and is very disciplined. You don't see him swinging at a lot of bad pitches. He is one of the better two-strike hitters around.
- On September 14, 2006, Prado hit his first Major League home run, a three-run shot to lead the Braves past the Phillies 4-1. His mother, Irma, saw it live on ESPN2 while watching the game in Venezuela.
Martin's greatest asset might be his hands. He uses them well. He has the confidence in his hands to stay back and see the ball as long as he possible can before he reacts, Terry Pendleton said in 2010.
"A guy like Prado is just tough to pitch to. You have to hope he gets himself out by chasing a pitch or hitting the ball at somebody," Pendleton said.
May 10, 2010: Prado hit his first career grand slam to lead the Braves over the Brewers, 8-2.
- As of the start of the 2016 season, Prado's career Major League stats were: .293 batting average, 95 home runs with 564 RBI's in 4,791 at-bats.
- Martin is a solid second baseman. He has very good range and makes accurate, strong throws. He turns the double play well, not allowing baserunners to intimidate him.
- Prado is a gritty middle infielder, a tough, nose-in-the-dirt competitor who has confidence in his ability to make all the plays. He has sure hands. He makes some brilliant plays.
- Martin also plays third base and shortstop.
- There isn't anything flashy about Martin, but he is reliable at second base.
When the Braves acquired Dan Uggla, Prado was moved to left field. And Martin signed off on the move. In January and February 2011, he worked out from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every day with Nate McLouth at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando—the Braves' spring home.
- Prado is a natural in left field. He has a very quick reaction to the ball off the bat. He has above average range and is one of the better left fielders in the game.
- The Diamondbacks see Prado as their everyday third baseman and expect him to spend most games as the No. 2 hitter in their lineup. Already in 2013, he's played third, second, short and left field . . . and that was in the span of two days.
- In his first nine seasons in the Majors (2006 through 2014), Martin played 414 games at third base, 262 at second, and 256 in left field. That put him in an exclusive club six players in the game with at least 250 games at second base, third base and one outfield position.
- Martin has above average speed. And he steals a few bases.
May 4–July 4, 2008: Prado suffered a badly sprained left thumb while sliding into first base.
August 15, 2009: Martin was sidelined by a mysterious ailment diagnosed as "exertional headaches" by a neurosurgeon. He was only out three games with sharp headaches and dizziness.
- July 31-August 17, 2010: Prado was on the 15-day D.L. after fracturing his right pinky finger while completing a head-first slide at home plate. (He was safe.)
September 28, 2010: Prado was lost for the season with a left hip pointer injury sustained while making a diving catch. A subsequent MRI revealed that Martin had a torn left external oblique muscle.
- June 10-July 15, 2011: Martin was on the D.L. with a staph infection in his right calf. He underwent a procedure to clean out the infection. Then, when he tried to play that evening, he suffered an upper left calf contusion when he was hit by a ball while stealing second base.
"He was getting treated for, for lack of a better term, a raspberry [on his right calf]," said manager Fredi Gonzalez. "Then quickly that thing turns from just being a raspberry to a pretty serious infection. I think our people got on it pretty early and took care of it."
September 16, 2014: Prado had an appendectomy and was placed on the 60-day DL.
June 15-July 17, 2015: Martin was on the D.L. with a right shoulder sprain.
- March 20-April 17, 2017: Prado was on the DL with a Grade 1 right hamstring strain and a slight upper right calf strain.