The main exports from the country of Venezuela are petroleum and firearms, but the most valuable export from the South American country has been a 6 foot 1 power hitting second basemen with more talent than the all of the nine-year-old Mozarts combined on Oprah’s Most Talented Kids. This hitting machine has added more firepower to the Braves lineup than any amount of petroleum and firearms ever could.

His name is Martin Prado and he leads the league in at bats, runs scored, hits, and has the third best batting average in the National League at .315. However, if you want to know anything about Prado’s history before his minor league career, or if you’re curious about what high school team he played for and whether he was class clown or most likely to win a batting title, good luck finding out.

Not even the most die hard Braves fans know much about their starting second basemen. We know that he signed at the age of 16, then he played a couple of years in a developmental Dominican Republic league and a few years later he magically appeared in the Braves farm system and hasn’t stopped improving since.

We got our first real taste of the South American spice when he stepped in as the Braves’ starter at second base when Kelly Johnson went on the DL midway through the 2009 season. The next thing we know, Kelly Johnson is back from the DL and riding the pine and eventually finds himself in the middle of the desert on a last place team after Prado impressed with a .307 batting average and 11 home runs. Prado has only gotten better.

Besides the fact that he can hit well above .300 with around 20 home runs, the best part of Martin Prado’s game is his determination and his humbleness. That’s the difference between him and players like Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips. Both are talented players, but while Phillips decides to boast about every home run and publicly announce that he is the best second baseman in baseball, Prado blasts a 453-foot homer against the Marlins and says this, “The wind was blowing out, I got lucky. There are tropical storms around here.”

Wait a second. That’s not the difference between Martin Prado and Brandon Phillips. The difference is Prado has a better batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, more RBI’s, more hits, and more total bases. Dont worry Brandon, you’re still the better dancer.

Martin Prado is the number one candidate for MVP of the Atlanta Braves this year and he could be MVP of the Braves for many years to come. It seems like Prado has played in every game this season and he is very rarely not on base for Heyward and the boys to drive him in. There has never been a leadoff hitter for the Braves like the one they have now and hopefully he will bounce back from his recent injury and continue to drive us towards the post season. Until then, I guess we have to depend on the All Star .339 hitter, Omar Infante.

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