Bucs Waiver Wire: d’Arnaud and Presley

For once, the Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t a punch line or a prelude to Steelers training camp. At 38-37, the Bucs are just three games back in the NL Central. That’s no thanks to the offense, however, which ranks 14th in the NL in runs scored.

Pittsburgh will turn to a pair of prospects in an effort to plate more runs: infielder Chase D’Arnaud got the call prior to Friday night’s game versus the Red Sox, and outfielder Alex Presley is expected to be added to the roster before an interleague series in Toronto on Tuesday. Here’s a quick look at what these two will bring to the table in fantasy leagues.

Chase d’Arnaud

With Pedro Alvarez (right quadriceps) and Steve Pearce (right calf) on the DL and Brandon Wood (batting .229/.282/.321 as a Pirate) proving that 2006 was a long, long time ago, d’Arnaud has a chance to get regular playing time at third base. The 24-year-old had a .280/.347/.418 line at Triple-A Indianapolis prior to his contract being purchased, compared to the .259/.328/.401 average in the International League.

d’Arnaud doesn’t have great patience or pop — his walk rate in the upper minors is under nine percent, and his Isolated Power is just north of .130 — but he is speedy. The righty batter nabbed 33 bases in 40 tries at Double-A Altoona last season and was 18-for-21 in Triple-A this year.

While d’Arnaud’s ceiling is limited, the Pirates’ lack of options at shortstop could open up an starting gig for him in the long run. Ronny Cedeno isn’t exactly endearing himself to the club with a triple-slash (.232/.288/.325) that conjures up memories of Mike Benjamin and Pat Meares. The Hardball Times’ Oliver projection system isn’t all that optimistic about d’Arnaud’s prospects, though, projecting him for a sub-.240 average with an OBP just above .300 and a slugging percentage just north of .350.

Alex Presley

Presley will DH during Pittsburgh’s interleague series with the Jays, and it’s possible that his stay in the majors is a short one. But the Pirates could choose to keep the former eighth-round pick out of Mississippi, giving him most starts in right field while shifting Garrett Jones to first base and putting Lyle Overbay‘s sub-replacement-level bat on the bench.

Presley did little to distinguish himself during his first three years on the farm, repeating High Class-A in 2009 while posting a sub-.700 OPS. Since then, however, the lefty batter has improved his status enough to at least have a shot at a career as an everyday player.

He hit .320/.373/.494 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2010, earning a late-season call-up to the majors in the process. In 2011, Presley has a .333/.386/.500 triple slash with Indy while improving his base running. Presley was a hazard stealing bags prior to this season, with a 57 percent success rate, but he has gone 18-for-21 in 2011.

Before you get too excited, keep in mind that Presley will turn 26 next month. Like d’Arnaud, he doesn’t draw many walks or hit for much power. Oliver projects Presley as roughly a league-average hitter: a .270-ish average, an OBP in the low .310s and a slugging percentage in the low .400s. That, coupled with some steals, could be worth a look in NL-only leagues if Presley sticks on the Pirates’ roster.

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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.

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