Alex Presley (Getty Images)

 

Halfway through the season, most of the top prospects such as Mike Moustakas and Dustin Ackley have already been called up by their respective MLB team after polishing their fine skills in the minors. In the past few days, three more prospects, getting less hype, finally get the chance to show their talent at the major league level.

 

1. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B Cleveland Indians

 

Seeking to boost their anaemic offense, the Cleveland Indians have promoted third base prospect Lonnie Chisenhall from Triple-A Columbus on Sunday. In two games with the Tribe so far, Chisenhall is hitting .375 (3-for-8) with two doubles, one run scored and one run batted-in.

 

Chisenhall was drafted by Cleveland in the first round in 2008, 29th overall, from Pitt Community College in North Carolina. This year, the 22-year-old Chisenhall was hitting .265/.352/.427 for Triple-A Columbus before he was called-up. In 253 at-bats in Columbus, he had hit seven homeruns, to go with 44 RBIs and 44 runs. He also was sporting a 47:28 strikeout:walk ratio. The above numbers are not necessarily screaming bona fide prospect despite the good scouting reports on Chisenhall.

 

The left-handed batter has a quick, short swing, along with great bat speed, and power to all fields. While his plate discipline isn't excellent, it isn't that bad either, and he manages to keep his strikeouts under control. He's particularly good against right-handers (.292 BA), but he has trouble hitting southpaws (.200 BA). He handles fastballs, breaking pitches, and changeups very well. Defensively, Chisenhall features a solid and accurate arm, with plenty of range for the third base position. His defensive play has steadily improved in the minors and will only get better with major league experience.

 

Cleveland’s top prospect will most likely get consistent at-bats with the Tribe for the rest of the season unless he struggles mightily, which is unlikely. However, caution must be used regarding Chisenhall, as he might be part of a platoon with Jack Hanahan who's batting .308 against lefties this season despite poor all-around numbers. The Chiz makes a very good pick-up in deep mixed leagues and AL-only leagues. As for keeper leagues, he is a must-own (I own him in my 13-team (26 players per team) keeper league) in all formats as he will become a very reliable offensive weapon in the years to come even if we have to expect a few bumps down the road this season.

 

2. Alex Presley, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates


Recently promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis by the Pirates to replace the injured Jose Tabata, outfielder Alex Presley made his major league debut on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. He went 2-for-5, hitting a single and two-run homerun off starter Jo-Jo Reyes, batting leadoff and playing in left field. The left-handed Presley was drafted by the Pirates in the eighth round in 2006, from the University of Mississippi.

 

Presley played briefly with the Pittsburgh last year, hitting .261/.292/.304 in 19 games, but he started the campaign in Indianapolis this spring. He's been outstanding there, with a .338/.389/.507 batting line, and he hit eight homeruns and swiped 18 bags in 292 at-bats before his promotion.

 

Presley, who was not known as a power hitter before 2010, has improved his power numbers after he stopped trying so hard to hit for the fence. By shortening his swing, and focusing simply on making good contact, his offensive results have been much more impressive. He has also learned to use his above-average speed on the base paths as shown by his 14 doubles, 5 triples and 18 steals in 22 attempts with Triple-A Indianapolis.

 

However, his strike zone judgment isn't very good as shown by his strikeout:walk ratio of 48:25, which is normally below what you would want from a leadoff man, but Presley is a very good contact hitter (.336 BA in 292 ABs) and his speed helps his BABIP. While his arm is weak, his speed helps him compensate and allows him to play shallower in the outfield.

 

With Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata and Garrett Jones manning the outfield, Presley is most likely to be used as the team's fourth outfielder or be sent back to Triple-A. However, since Tabata has been placed on the 15-day DL, Presley will have time to show what he can do in the majors for the time being. He is worth grabbing on the short term if you need stolen bases and power in deep weekly leagues. Monitor the situation as the Pirates might unload Jones or Matt Diaz at the deadline if they fall out of contention.

 

3. Josh Spence, RP, San Diego Padres


This year Spence became the seventh Australian to play in MLB after making his debut for the San Diego Padres last week, and thus far he’s struck out five batters over four outings in relief. Spence, 23, was selected by the Padres in the ninth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Arizona State University.

 

He spent the entire 2011 season with Double-A San Antonio before he was called up on June 21st, going 3-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 47.1 IP, with a 42/11 strikeout/walk ratio in 35 relief appearances. His opponents hold a paltry .180 (29-for-161) batting average against him this season. The native of Victoria, Australia, had missed the entire 2010 college season with a vague elbow injury.

 

With these K/IP ratios and low hit rates, you might believe the Austrian is a hard-thrower, but it's in fact quite the opposite: his fastball is frequently in the mid-80s and tops out at 87 MPH. However, he has a wide variety of pitches in his arsenal, including a very good slider, a deceiving changeup, and a curve. His pinpoint command, deceptive delivery, and outstanding makeup makes him tough to read for the opposition. He's extremely tough on left-handed batters, holding them to a miniscule .130 average so far this year, but his great repertoire makes him efficient against right-handers as well.

 

Spence, who is more than a situational lefty, seems ideally-suited for a set-up role with the Padres, pitching before Heath Bell and Mike Adams. The southpaw also has experience as a starting pitcher, which gives him more stamina than the typical reliever.

 

And with the rumours of Heath Bell being moved at the deadline, Spence could very well become a good source of holds while helping you lower your team's ERA and WHIP, while also providing you with plenty of strikeouts along the way.

 

If you have fantasy questions, don't hesitate to ask them at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or on Twitter at FredPoulin98. Thanks for reading.

 


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