In our farm system rankings, our most controversial ranking was listing Alex Presley as the #5 prospect in the Pirates’ organization. The ranking is partially explained by our site focusing on fantasy baseball, where the value of lower-level prospects is discounted to some degree. Nevertheless, under any method, this is a high ranking which I felt needed some justification.
I have been reading more about the Pirates’ system since the listing, and I’ve especially enjoyed the site bucs prospects, which is one of the best system-specific prospect sites online. In retrospect, #5 is admittedly too high because Presley is an undersized 24-year old outfielder who was totally unheralded coming into the season. The lack of recognition was well-deserved, as Presley previously spent two unremarkable seasons in high-A. Furthermore, at 5’9 and 180 pounds, Presley simply lacks the stature to ever evolve into a star.
I do believe Presley belongs in the top 10, however. The improvement this season was shocking as Presley hit .350 this season in AA before earning a promotion to AAA, where he is currently hitting .300. Despite the lack of size, the power numbers (12 HR’s, 82 RBI’s) have also been respectable. Furthermore, while at Ole Miss, Presley was one of the best players on a memorable 2006 team with Chris Coghlan, Cody Satterwhite, Zach Cozart, & Co. Here is a good post by Anup Sinha at Bucs Prospects about Presley. While I am guessing Sinha would not have placed Presley in the Top 10, the positive analysis provides some reassurance.
For fantasy baseball purposes, I tend to place higher ratings on unheralded players who nevertheless produced a good season in AA or AAA because good statistics at that level makes it easy to envision the player producing in the major leagues (i.e., Dan Uggla, Brennan Boesch, etc). Furthermore, while I offer no statistical evidence, a disparate number of well-known players from the SEC have succeeded in the major leagues despite never being considered elite prospects. Some recent examples include Chris Coglan, Brad Hawpe, Seth Smith, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Keppinger, and Julio Borbon.
While #5 was perhaps a ridiculously high ranking for Mr. Presley, in a deep fantasy league, he is worth grabbing when he appears on your free agent list. If he gets an opportunity, he could easily bat .275 with 5-10 homers and 50 RBI’s. Anybody in a deep fantasy league knows those numbers are acceptable at a cheap price.
In conclusion, the talk of a former Ole Miss player, the Southeast Conference, and the upcoming football season, leads me to promote a cool product I recently purchased. My friend Josh Pittman—one of the biggest fans of SEC football you’ll ever meet—invented a product called the “pocket roster,” which is a small device allowing you to see the name and number of the players. It’s a cheap, convenient product which beats the heck out of purchasing a program. The web site is www.pocket-roster.com, and for any football fans reading, it’s definitely worth purchasing.