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Martin Prado trade: New Marlins lineup optimization

The Miami Marlins' trade for Martin Prado added a better hitter to the team's lineup. What should their lineup look like now?

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins' addition of Martin Prado to the lineup adds an improved wrinkle to the offense. Previously, Casey McGehee was expected to the be the team's third baseman, and the expected value of his bat next season was going to be lower than his performance proved this year. McGehee performed well in the first half, but it was based on a high BABIP and unlikely to be repeated, and he quickly showed that in the second half. The overall line was valuable enough, but heading into next season, McGehee was not expected to put up the same performance as last year.

Prado is different, as he has a more variation-free game thanks to his low strikeout rate. His contact approach keeps him less vulnerable to variability and allowed the Marlins to guarantee wins next season in order to upgrade the roster. But how will this affect the lineup? We already examined the lineup on Friday last week before the Prado trade, but how does Prado's addition change our optimized lineup?

Lineup vs. RHP

Here's the expected lineup versus righties.

1 Christian Yelich .347
2 Marcell Ozuna .322
3 Michael Morse .326
4 Giancarlo Stanton .397
5 Jarrod Saltalamacchia .314
6 Martin Prado .313
7 Dee Gordon .300
8 Pitcher ---
9 Adeiny Hechavarria .276

Not much changes in the right-handed lineup, as Prado has pretty traditional platoon splits and would be expected to perform as such given a projected .320 wOBA for next season. Prado puts a righty in between to split the lefties Saltalamacchia and Gordon, allowing the Fish to provide some mid-lineup balance. It also keeps the top of the order intact, with the best four hitters remaining in the first lineup slots.

Prado is a poor baserunner, but he is at least a good deal better than Gordon, so moving Gordon down the lineup further is feasible. Putting him in front of the pitcher is a little less advantageous, but it serves a similar purpose, as Gordon's baserunning is still more beneficial at the bottom of the lineup than it is at the top.

Lineup vs. LHP

1 Marcell Ozuna .341
2 Giancarlo Stanton .423
3 Martin Prado .336
4 Michael Morse .342
5 Christian Yelich .308
6 Adeiny Hechavarria .293
7 Dee Gordon .268
8 Pitcher ---
9 Jeff Mathis .260

Prado adds a nice touch to the top of the lineup versus lefties, however. McGehee's reverse splits for his career makes his expected line versus left-handers look relatively meek. Prado is expeced to hit almost as well as Ozuna and Michael Morse against lefties, putting another solid bat at the top of the lineup. Prado also does a better job than McGehee at avoiding double plays, which are an issue for third hitters. That lets us move him to the top of the lineup and shift Yelich down to fifth, where he too can use his speed to assist the lesser hitters behind him.

This lineup at the top still suffers from the same issues at leadoff, with Ozuna not being an ideal walk or on-base candidate for the spot. But the important thing is to give your best hitters the most chances at the plate, and Ozuna is one of the better hitters for the Fish against lefties, so he remains at the top. Batting Stanton second gives him more chances and still leaves Miami with a decent power threat in Morse at cleanup.

The lineup overall looks much better than it did before the trade, with at least five players who are average or better at the plate. Miami now looks like it will field a competent lineup, even with potential black holes like Gordon and Hechavarria at the plate. This trade at the very least upgrades the offensive department.