The Orioles announced that they’ve signed veteran outfielder Alex Presley to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training. Presley, a Sports Pro Services client, gives the Orioles a left-handed-hitting option to add to their outfield mix, which they’ve reportedly been seeking for much of the offseason. Given that Presley isn’t guaranteed a 40-man spot, it’s possible that the O’s could continue to explore other additions for that role as well.
Presley, 32, quietly had a very solid season at the plate with the Tigers in 2017, hitting .314/.354/.416 with three homers, 10 doubles, three triples and five steals (in five attempts). That marked his most productive stint in the Majors since a promising .298/.339/.465 showing as a 25-year-old rookie back in 2011, though it’s worth noting that last year’s output was buoyed by a .383 BABIP and 31.1 percent line-drive rate that both seem likely to come back down to Earth.
Overall, with 29 career homers and 30 steals in 1500 MLB plate appearances, Presley has demonstrated a bit of power and speed while hitting a combined .263/.306/.388 in the Majors. He’s had more power against righties but doesn’t have a huge platoon split in terms of batting average or OBP.
In the outfield, Presley has plenty of experience at all three positions, having turned in 620 innings of work in center, 690 in right and 1582 in left field. Ultimate Zone Rating is bullish on his work in left field, where he has the largest sample of data, but has given him below-average marks at the other two spots. Last season, in particular, was a rough season for Presley in the eyes of defensive metrics (-11 Defensive Runs Saved, -2.5 UZR, -2 Outs Above Average).
That said, he’s considerably more experienced in the outfield than Trey Mancini and could give the O’s a left-handed complement to Mancini, Adam Jones, top prospect Austin Hays, part-time outfielder/DH Mark Trumbo and fellow non-roster invitee Craig Gentry.