He may be listed at 5'9 190, but Alex Presley could pass for 15 years old. With his small stature and baby face, the numbers in AAA will make you scratch your head. Presley is currently leading the Indianapolis Indians in average (.340), slugging (.523), on-base percentage (.391), home runs (8), RBIs (33) and has only registered one error in the outfield. Those numbers have people scratching their head in another way, as well. The biggest question seems to be, "why isn't this kid playing at PNC Park?" While he does tend to strikeout a little too much (47 this year) the Pirates aren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard every night. A call up for Alex Presley could spark the Pirates offense on a similar scale to Josh Harrison. When you look at all of his tools, he has the potential to be a solid player. Not an All Star by any means, but a solid outfielder who could help hold things down until Starling Marte is ready in 2012. For all of his talent, there is still one problem that is keep Presley from making the trip to Pittsburgh.
He's left handed.
The Pirates have two left handed hitters on the bench who can play outfield and can either hit for more power, or play better defense than Presley. Although Garret Jones has hit only 6 home runs this year, he is starting to heat up a little bit from his slow start. Meanwhile, Xavier Paul is playing just good enough to not get cut. And then there is Matt Diaz. A player who is playing good enough to get cut. The only problem is, the Pirates would have to eat his two year, 4 million dollar contract and they would still be in need of a right-handed stick to come off the bench. Still, Presley could help fill one hole in the Pirates' team: hitting. As of June 13th, the Pirates are ranked 25th in batting average among all major league teams. While Tabata, McCutchen and Walker have all been hitting, this season, the bottom half of the lineup has been putrid. Lyle Overbay showed some flashes of being the hitter the Pirates were hoping to see when they signed him to a $5 million contract this winter. However, he's highly underachieved this season batting .236 with just 5 home runs. With the injuries at catching, Ronny Cedeno cooling off and Brandon Wood starting at third, there is little to no confidence in the lineup after the four hitter.
As it stands, Alex Presley should be the guy. He should at least get a chance at the major league level. The only issue is the road block of left handed hitters keeping him from ascending to baseball's most competitive stage. With a road series against the Cleveland Indians, Presley could get the call to DH while the Pirates try to duct tape the rest of their injured team together to form somewhat of a lineup. If he takes advantage of his call up by hitting, he may be able to stay for a little while longer. At this point, the Pirates have to take all they can get, offensively. While the pitching has continued to be spectacular this year at some point in the game you have to score at least one run to win.
Social media is also crying out for the Pirates to make a move for Presley. There's a popular "hashtag" on Twitter called #freealexpresley, where fans collectively show their outward cry for the young outfielder to be promoted. The expression probably doesn't faze Pirates' management at this time, but it does become louder and louder as the team struggles to put runs together. One month through the season, people looked at the pitching as overachieving while the hitting was viewed as underachieving. Since then, the situation has not yielded a change. While the starting rotation has prevented AAA pitchers, like Brad Lincoln, from getting a call up, there's been a plethora of opportunities, with injuries, for the AAA hitters to get a shot at the bigs. Presley may not contend for the triple crown in the majors, but what do the Pirates have to lose in bringing him up? Even "burning" an option would seem irrelevant if he proves he can't compete in the majors.
Take a chance, Pirates. At worst, Alex Presley will have the same production as hitters who have already shown they cannot contribute on a major scale. This offense needs a spark and the biggest risk you would be taking with Presley, is that he may be just as putrid as the bottom of the lineup.