Minnesota Twins: Has Ryan Pressly finally developed into the “closer in waiting”?

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 4: Pitcher Ryan Pressly
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 4: Pitcher Ryan Pressly /

The Minnesota Twins have been waiting on a collection of young pitchers to make up their bullpen. Is Ryan Pressly emerging first as the best of the bunch?

The Minnesota Twins have been waiting for several seasons for a group of young relief pitchers to become the backend of their bullpen. This offseason the front office recognized that it was time to stop waiting on them and they brought in a trio of free agents in Fernando Rodney, Zach Duke, and Addison Reed. It seems finally one young arm has progressed the way the Twins had hoped all along.

December 6, 2012, Ryan Pressly came to the Twins as a Rule-5 selection. The raw power in his arm is what clearly caught the Twins attention. In his time with the Twins organization that power fastball and high spin rate continues to draw the eye of many within baseball. Pressly’s shortfall has been that his impressive fastball is the only pitch he has been able to regularly throw for a strike for a good portion of his major league career.

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Since July 1st  Pressly has seemed to be a different pitcher. At least he has been able to produce much different results than he did previous to that. So far this season, Pressly has appeared in 5 games and pitched 5.1 innings. He has allowed 4 hits, 2 walks, but most importantly zero runs.

One thing that seems different about Pressly, and was evident in Tuesday’s game against the Houston Astros, he has been able to locate his secondary pitches. It felt like deja-vu when Pressly came into the game Tuesday. Like Jake Odorizzi before him, Pressly was able to locate what looked like a slow, but sharp cutting curveball for strikes.

If Pressly is able to continue and locate pitches, the change in velocity he can throw at a batter will be tough to contend with. Pressly can give batters a 95-96 mph fastball and then come back with a low 80s curveball. Tough for any hitter to keep tabs on.

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When looking at the Twins overall bullpen makeup the Twins have a stopgap closer in Rodney currently in place. Reed always could become the team’s closer, but is best served to pitch in the highest leverage situation innings 7 through 9. With more relievers coming up through the minors to take on Pressly’s current role, the Twins would greatly welcome Pressly’s ability to finally take hold of the Twins closer role.