Astros News

Astros make a trade to improve the bullpen as they struggle vs. Rangers

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 2: Ryan Pressly #57 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the twelfth inning of the game on August 2, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Astros 4-3 in thirteen inning. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 2: Ryan Pressly #57 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the twelfth inning of the game on August 2, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Astros 4-3 in thirteen inning. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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The Astros gear up for the playoff drive by trading for Twins reliever, Ryan Pressly. No, not the former Astro outfielder.

While the Astros bullpen was getting pummeled by the Rangers, Jeff Luhnow pulls off a trade. Before the game tonight, Luhnow said he was in contact with 6-7 teams trying to work out trades. He maintained that they were looking at relievers and possibly a bat.

Also before the game, Ken Rosenthal said that almost every team in the playoff hunt were looking at trading for Ryan Pressly. Rosenthal also mentioned his spin rate was the second best in the majors. When I read that, I thought that would be the perfect trade target for the Astros. But, I procrastinated and didn’t write about Pressly thinking I would do it later.

Guess it’s later.

During the disaster that was the ninth inning, Rosenthal tweeted that the Astros had made a trade for Pressly. Mike Berardino then tweeted out that Pressly was seen giving hugs in the dugout. So some guy named Pressly is coming to Houston, who is he and what did the Astros give up?

First of all, Pressly is not Alex Presley converted to a pitcher. He is a 29-year-old reliever from the Dallas area. We won’t hold that against him. Pressly has spent his whole career with the Twins which is one reason he doesn’t stand out. He had a 1-1 record with the Twins in 2018 with a 3.40 ERA while striking out 69 hitters in 47 2/3 innings via Baseball-Reference. Adding that to the bullpen can’t hurt.

Who did they trade?

As the details started to filter through, we learned first that Jorge Alcala was one of the players, via Joel Sherman. Alcala was the 10th ranked Astros prospect via MLB Pipeline. He is a 22-year-old RHP with a plus fastball in Double-A. Some people projected him being a future closer down the road.

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The second player was Gilberto Celestino, a 19-year-old outfielder who just reached Double-A. He was ranked the 15th top prospect in the Astros farm system by MLB Pipeline. Speaking of MLB Pipeline, they just updated the top 30 prospects before the trade. Time to update it again with two players coming off.

At first glance, you may be thinking that the Astros gave up a package that could have gotten them Zach Britton. There have been reports questioning how involved they were in trade talks for Britton. Did they overpay to get someone who not that many people knew about?

A perfect fit?

The front office has looked to upgrade the bullpen, Pressly fits what they were looking for. With the Astroball sabermetrics, they are all about the soon rate. Just ask Trevor Bauer. Via Statcast, Pressly’s spin rate is 2,580 rpm with an average pitch speed of 95.9 mph. The average big league pitcher has a spin rate of 2,263 rpm.

Richard Justice tweeted that Pressly’s spin rate on his fastball and curveball are great. He also throws a hard slider that Justice says ranks fourth in velocity. All that technical mumbo-jumbo is music to the nerds in the Astros front office. AJ Hinch confirmed that after the game via Brian McTaggart.

Pressly is also arbitration eligible for the 2019 season and is making $1.6 million this year via Baseball-Reference. He is a cheap and valuable addition who can be with the team while Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are under team control. The Astros have the best chance to win in 2018-19, so its best to put the best team on the field during that stretch.

Next. Astros trade for Martin Maldonado to help defensively behind the plate. dark

With this move, I could see Cionel Perez heading down to Triple-A. This was confirmed after the game by Brian McTaggart. He made the jump from Double-A to the majors, so he can go back down and work on things. Perez will probably return when rosters expand in September and could be an option for the playoff roster. The timing of the trade was odd as if Luhnow accepted because he was frustrated with the game. I know that’s not the case, he’s too smart for that.

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