It was never going to be easy for the Minnesota Twins to move on from one of the faces of the franchise.
Despite Justin Morneau‘s well documented post-concussion struggles over the last couple of years, that his name is now irrevocably tied to that of newcomer Alex Presley means that there are certain expectations for the Twins’ new center fielder of the present.
So far, he’s met them head on — and then some.
Okay, so it’s been just a few games thus far, but given that the Twins got a miserable triple-slash of .221/.287/.340 from their center fielders in 2013 heading into play on Wednesday — good for a 28th-ranked 0.0 fWAR — you couldn’t exactly fault fans for getting excited at any pre-Byron Buxton potential out at center.
Maybe it’s the rush from the intangible change of scenery effect, or maybe it’s just that Presley is actually getting a full-time opportunity to prove himself. Whatever the case may be, the outfielder has now hit in three out of the four games he’s played as a member of the Twins, with all of those three being multi-hit performances.
All of that culminated in his 2-for-4 performance in a losing effort against the Houston Astros on Wednesday, as the Twins’ leadoff man hit a two-run shot off Jordan Lyles for just his third home run of the season.
Then again, he has had only 90 total at-bats, so …
In any case, the power display is something that isn’t totally foreign for Presley, who came up with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a prospect with a solid, if unspectacular upside who could do a little bit of everything at the plate. Well, with a SSS .389/.450/.611 in his time with the Twins thus far, you could probably say that he’s eager to make up for lost time.
His defense might be a little suspect, and he hasn’t quite gotten around to showing off his speed yet (0-for-2 with the Twins), but Presely’s value fundamentally begins at the plate, where he’s undoubtedly succeeding.
And sure, it might not last long enough before the likes of Buxton come up to the bigs; but considering that Presley’s positional flexibility gives the team some leeway with Josh Willingham as far as trades go next season, don’t be surprised if he ends up being more than just yet another seat warmer for the Twins.
Who knows — they could actually end up yielding fair value from the trade yet.