Prior to 2010 you probably wouldn’t have considered Alex Presley any sort of source of power. Even in 2010 and 2011 he hit just 12 HR a season, so it’s not like he completely exploded. This season things have been a little bit different, already with 8 HR (3 at Triple-A and 5 in the Major Leagues).
Of course he also is sporting a 60.0% groundball rate, so while he may be able to offer 10-12 HR power (which has plenty of value to go along with his speed) don’t get confused. He’s not likely to be a 20/20 option or better.
Could he be 15/30? That’s a different story.
Presley has been showing off his wheels of late, with three stolen bases in a recent two game span. After stealing just 9 bases in 215 AB at the Major League level you may not want to buy into his speed, but it definitely is there.
He stole 22 bases in 348 minor league AB last season, giving him a total of 31 for the season. Last season John Sickels of Minor League Ball (click here for the article) gave the following scouting report:
Regarding his power:
“After punchless ’08 and ’09 seasons, Presley has shown more power over the last year and a half. Ironically, scouts attribute his improvement to the fact that he stopped trying so hard to hit for power. He shortening his swing, focusing on simple contact, and the results have been impressive.”
Regarding his speed:
“His best organic tool is above-average speed, which he’s learned to use more efficiently on the bases.”
We can see that the results on the base paths have definitely improved. Hitting atop a surging Pirates lineup, there is little question that he is going to get plenty of opportunities to run… That is as long as he gets on base.
Over his minor league career he posted a 16.9% strikeout rate and 7.8% walk rate. He’s been worse on both accounts this season, with a 21.7% strikeout rate and 3.2% walk rate.
However, there is reason for optimism. While he has just 1 walk in 31 June AB, he has managed to reduce his strikeout rate to 12.5%. As long as he makes contact and continues to put the ball on the ground, his speed should do the rest.
He has a .308 BABIP in June, a mark that you would anticipate him improving upon with his speed. Yes, he may start to strikeout a little bit more, but seeing him maintain a .280+ average is very realistic. You couple that with a little bit of power, 30+ SB speed and the potential to score plenty of runs with Andrew McCutchen behind him, there is an awful lot to like.
He’s not going to be an All-Star by any stretch of the imagination, but in five-outfielder formats there is an awful lot of upside. Presley has the potential to post numbers close to the level of a Drew Stubbs (15 HR/40 SB in ’11), though probably a little bit short. Think 12/25 with the potential for more.
That should definitely interest you. As long as he’s starting, he is well worth grabbing in all five-outfielder formats.