One of the biggest needs for almost every team competing for a spot in the postseason every year is additional arms for their pitching staff. This year has been no exception. The most recent team to bolster their pitching staff is the Astros, who have acquired right-hander Ryan Pressly from the Minnesota Twins for prospects Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino. This move comes after most of the other available relievers, like Zach Britton and Brad Hand, have been picked up by other teams. This article seeks to answer three questions: how good is Pressly? Is he worth the two prospects the Astros gave up to get him? And does the club still need more in order to make a push for the World Series?
To answer the question of how good this right-hander is, it is important to know both his performance this season, as well as his performance over his six-season career. Pressly has been solid over his play time in the majors, with a respectable career ERA of 3.75 and a strikeout to walk ratio of 2.61. This season has been his best so far in the majors, with an ERA of 3.40, a strikeout to walk ratio of 3.63, and a FIP of 2.95. Pressly has four pitches: a four-seam fastball in the mid-to-high-90s, a Slider that hangs around the high-80s to low-90s, a Curveball that is in the low-80s, and a Sinker that hits the mid-90s. With this arsenal, and his ability to consistently either generate swings-and-misses or weak contact, Pressly will likely serve as a late-reliever for the Astros.
As to the question of if Pressly was worth the prospects given up to acquire him, the answer is yes. Celestino was the club’s 15th highest hitting prospect, and Alcala was the club’s 10th highest rated pitching prospect, but neither of the two players is especially big names in their farm system. The Astros have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball, and they only had to give up two of their mid-tier prospects in order to get a player who can help them lock up the division this season. Plus, with the addition of Pressly, the club has one additional capable reliever to help take the stress off of their pitching rotation. This move should theoretically allow the starters to not have to go as deep into games so that they can stay fresh for the postseason.
Finally, this trade, when paired with the earlier acquisition of gold glove catcher Martin Maldonado, should be considered enough for the Astros when it comes to trades before the deadline. They have added an immense upgrade defensively at catcher, while also picking up a solid reliever to add to their pen. Any additional acquisitions at this point would just be icing on the proverbial cake. If the club is still unsatisfied with what they have, adding another arm for the bullpen wouldn’t hurt them, but not getting one wouldn’t be the end of the world. Despite missing out on some of the bigger names available in the pitching market, the Astros have done well with their acquisition of Pressly.