Hitting coach Jim Presley on Lough, Davis and the leadoff spot

Orioles hitting coach Jim Presley is already a David Lough fan. Presley became one even before Lough became an Oriole. He said he admired the way Lough had played last season with Kansas City and he and manager Buck Showalter talked about him in the dugout one night.

Presley told Showalter he’s a player he’d like to have on his team one day and in December, the O’s acquired Lough for Danny Valencia in a deal with Kansas City.

“I really like the way he plays,” Presley said. “He plays hard. He’s running everything out. He knows how to bunt and is a good defender. He is high energy and I like that about him.”

Presley mentioned Lough as a possible candidate to bat first when a reporter asked him about Nick Markakis possibly batting leadoff.

“You can hit Nick first, second, third, fifth, it doesn’t matter,” Presley said. “He’s that good a hitter and his health issues are out of the way. He is in pretty good shape. I don’t mind wherever Buck wants to hit him. As for David, could he be a second guy maybe? Could he be a leadoff guy? Yeah. He runs well enough and he bunts and he can do a lot of things so I do like him there.”

Presley was asked about the club’s on-base percentage and if some of the current players on the team can get better after a few years in the league?

“I think they can,” he said. “If you look at a guy like J.J. Hardy, who does not have a good on-base percentage in the low threes, Ryan Flaherty could be, you know a .320 or .330 guy. Is he going to be a .360 guy? I don’t think so. I think he has more juice to where we can utilize that, but we need him to have a two-strike approach and hit the ball the other way and we are going to stress that in spring training.”

You should note that Presely was not putting that all on Flaherty, but he had been asked about him in the previous question so cited his OBP capability in his answer.

Finally, he was asked a question that will come up a lot over the next few weeks leading up to the season, that being Chris Davis and his attempt to have another big year at the plate.

“Is he going to repeat that? That is hard to do,” Presley said. “We just want to keep him on an even keel. Let’s hit 30, drive in 90 to 100 and help our club win. I’d rather him drive in big RBIs late in the ballgame than hit 55 and drive in 130. I really would. I’d rather him hit 33, drive in 95 and have some big hits for us. It’s going to be hard for him to repeat that.”

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