I am not going to stand here and say that I saw this coming, nor am I going to say that I am fully endorsing the trade that sent Justin Morneau to Pittsburgh and netted the Minnesota Twins outfielder Alex Presley and reliever Duke Welker; but what I am going to say is that I certainly am surprised.
The scouting report on Presley, as he came to Minnesota, was that he had good speed, hit for average, possessed good plate discipline and could play solid defense. After four games with Minnesota, Presley is hitting .389 with one HR, five RBI, a WAR of 1.7 and an OBP of .450. Those are a great start to a career for Presley with the Twins and they sure are leaving an impression on the organization and coaching staff; but let’s pump the brakes a little on the optimism surrounding Presley. He certainly has met expectations, but by no means is he establishing himself as a fixture of the future within this organization.
The bulk of the production that Presley has given the Twins has come against mediocre competition from the likes of Houston. I’m not saying that what Presley has accomplished isn’t impressive and surprising thus far, but to say it is an indicator of things to come for Presley during his Twins career may be a bit of an overreaction. There is a reason that Pittsburgh was willing to give up Presley in a deal and there is a reason why he hasn’t broke into the majors before being traded to the Twins. Sure Andrew McCutchen was starting in front of him—which makes his journey to the majors much more difficult—but if Presley was expected to be able to produce like he has during his first four games with the Twins for the entirety of a season, more teams would have been calling about Presley.
Too often when a team is surrounded in mediocrity, fans look for bright spots to latch on to in order to get them through a difficult season. Remember all of the hype surrounding Andrew Albers after his first few starts? Where has all that chatter gone now? Albers has regressed back to the pack and has become an afterthought after his first few impressive outings. I expect Presley to regress to the mean over his next few games as well, but I do believe he has all of the tools necessary to carve out a role with this organization over the next few years as a fourth outfielder.
The bottom line is this: Presley has the tools to be a .280 hitter with minimal power and a decent OBP as a fourth outfielder in the majors. From the Twins’ perspective, this is a welcomed addition over the production they have been receiving from the likes of the Clete Thomas’s of the world this season. While it may be a minimal improvement, it still is an upgrade over what they previously had which makes Presley a justified starter in the Twins’ lineup; but was he worth giving up a former franchise cornerstone for? That is the true question.