Something special is going on in Pittsburgh.
Last night’s 11th inning heroics by rookie LF Alex Presley lifted the Pirates to five games over .500 for the season and a half game back from the first place Milwaukee Brewers. Presley collected three hits in the game and drove in three runs, including a go ahead run in the 11th inning that put the Bucs ahead of the Mets for good.
Presley has filled in quite admirably for injured star Jose Tabata atop the Pirates’ lineup, hitting .343 and scoring 12 runs and collecting nine RBI in his 16 game stint. Prior to his callup, Presley was enjoying a breakout season in his second go around at AAA Indianapolis, hitting ..336 with 8 HR 36 RBI 18 SB and 53 runs scored in 75 games. At 5-9 190 lb., the 25 year old remind some people of Rays bottle rocket Sam Fuld. At first glance, the comparisons would have some merit. Fuld and Presley, both left-handed, have top of the order speed, make big plays on defense, and both provided instant spark to their respective lineups in clutch situations. However, Presley has much better XBH power and is four years younger than his A.L. counterpart.
Will that give him more staying power? Jose Tabata is set to start his rehab assignment within the next couple of days, and his return could mean a drastic reduction in Presley’s playing time. Another scenerio could find Presley becoming the part of a trade deadline package to bring in a more established veteran bat. The Pirates have actively been pursuing Houston Astros all-star OF Hunter Pence and have also been linked in rumors involving Oakland A’s OF’s Josh Willingham and Conor Jackson. Either way, Presley fits the classic profile of a fourth outfielder, and that never bodes well for market demand.
Alex Presley’s first year cards can be found in the 2006 Bowman Draft and Chrome set. Aside from 2011′s Bowman Heritage cards, these are the only major market cards featuring the Pirates rookie to date. Prior to the start of this season, the Chromes could be had for less than a quarter a piece. These same cards have increased by five to ten fold now. Refractors, once dollar bin items, now trade for $5-6 each.
This is the beauty of the prospecting hobby! Who knows what the future holds for Alex Presley? My guess is that his cards are at or near peak values right now. If you have his cards, sell them now and pat yourself on the back for being patient and timing the market right. If you’re planning to buy, get it cheap (less than 50 cents each) and flip it fast.