On the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 31, Minnesota Twins fans reluctantly accepted the news that their beloved Justin Morneau had been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In exchange for outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named later or cash, many began wondering about the Louisiana boy the Twins obtained for their favorite Canadian slugger. Who, exactly, is Alex Presley?
The Presley File:
Name: Alexander Crawford Presley
DOB: April 25, 1985 (age 28)
Hometown: Monroe, La.
College: University of Mississippi
Weight: 190 pounds
MLB History: Drafted by the Pirates in the eighth round of the 2006 amateur draft and called up to the major leagues on Sept. 8, 2010. Traded to the Twins on Aug. 31, 2013.
2013 Highlights: Led Pirates roster in career triples; walk-off single in 10th inning against Philadelphia on April 7; second Pirate to ever hit an inside-the-park home run at PNC Park on April 20; Opening Day starter for Pittsburgh at leadoff and in left field.
2013 Stats: .289 AVG, three home runs, nine RBIs, nine runs, three walks, 22 strike outs, .312 OBP, .433 slugging.
Advantages: Presley will be a solid addition to the Twins at the plate. Though he will not match Morneau’s power, Presley should be able to help Minnesota string together some crucial runs in the future. Presley had success at leadoff for the Pirates and will help fill that spot, which the Twins have struggled to find consistency in all season. Presley will also provide much needed experience on a young Twins team that is in serious need of additional veteran leadership.
Disadvantages: Presley will not solve the defensive question mark that has been a major problem for the Twins. Though Minnesota carries a high number of outfielders, they constantly struggle to find talented players to consistently start at each outfield position and Presley is not a sure-fire pick. It is unknown how Presley will handle the center field position, as his experience in center has been generally untested by the Pirates, who have looked to standout Andrew McCutchen to fill the spot. Presley also struggles with discipline at the plate and does not draw as many walks as an organization would like to see from their leadoff hitter.
Conclusion: Presley wasn’t a spectacular trade for Morneau, but he wasn’t a bad one either. The Twins got a pretty solid player who will be able to fill their much needed leadoff spot, and will still get another player or cash out of the deal. While Presley will not solve the Twins’ outfield dilemma, his experience at the plate will make up for his average defensive skills.
Despite the distress caused by the loss of Morneau, I encourage Twins fans to embrace Alex Presley and to appreciate what he brings to the table. After all, Presley is the one with the right to be bitter. How would you feel if you were plucked from a playoff-bound team only to be thrown to a squad that looks more like the Bad News Bears than a major league club?
Caroline Ponessa is a Minnesota Twins writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter @sweetCaro.