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Article: Twins Daily Roundtable: Closing Time

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:10 AM
Twins Daily Roundtable is a weekly series. As part of this series, a question will be posed to the site’s writers and they will respond i...
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Seems like he has not pitched well at all lately, wondering if something is wrong?
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (8/15): Pitching Paves...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 09:53 AM
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A way, way too early look at the 2019 rotation. And yet...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:46 AM
This is stupid! Its way, way too early! And we will have months ahead of us to discuss the 2019 season. And yet, between a disappointing...
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Recent Blogs


Pressing On Was Key for Pressly

The year is 2017, and Ryan Pressly has made 25 appearances for the Minnesota Twins totaling 24 innings pitched. He’s posted an 8.25 ERA and opposing batters own an .889 OPS against him. To say his season is not going well would be an understatement, and there were plenty across Twins Territory wondering if this was the end in Minnesota for the one-time Rule 5 draft pick. My contention was that the tools were all there and the end result would be worth the wait. Enter 2018.
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Through his first seven appearances, and 8 1/3 innings pitched, Pressly owns a sparkling 0.00 ERA along with a 2.15 FIP and 0.96 WHIP. He’s striking out batters at a 7.6 K/9 clip while issuing free passes at a career best 2.2 BB/9 rate. After allowing 1.0 HR/9 and 1.5 HR/9 each of the past two seasons, he’s yet to give up a longball in 2018.

Keeping the ball in the yard was really Pressly’s bugaboo in 2017, and it inflated things to the point of the surrounding numbers looking equally as gaudy. His chase rates and swinging strike percentages are virtually the same year-over-year, and his velocity has actually been slightly down this season (likely due to the cold temperatures). His curveball is arguably his best pitch and he’s using it just as often, while trusting his slider slightly more for new pitching coach Garvin Alston. There’s just really not much that jumps off the page in regards to process changes that would point to the massive step forward.

Again though, we can look back to the longball. In 2017, 18.5% of the fly balls allowed by Pressly left the yard. That’s over double his 9.3% career mark, and was 12th worst in baseball among 155 qualified relievers. With no homers allowed thus far in 2018, that percentage is obviously zero. It’s also a direct result of the Ryan keeping his hard hit rate in check. After allowing 41.4% of contact to be batted at least 95 mph in 2017, he’s cut that number virtually in half (21.7%). Medium contact is generally going to produce balls in play that give fielders a chance to make a play, and his 69.6% mark is 8th best in the game.

When designing a blueprint for a reliever, you’d be hard pressed to argue against the makeup including velocity, an ability to produce weak contact, and the opportunity to keep the ball in the yard. For Paul Molitor and the Twins, Ryan Pressly is currently checking off all of those boxes at a very high level. His hammer curveball combined with an upper 90’s heater has always been a problem for big league hitters. Executing those pitches now with the results bearing fruit has put Pressly into the proper light of a very good setup man.

As Derek Falvey and Thad Levine went out and revamped the Minnesota pen this winter, Addison Reed and Fernando Rodney had back end ability written all over them. Zach Duke was somewhat of a wildcard, but in returning from Tommy John surgery in 2017, showed that he can be a very nice piece for a bullpen when right. By bringing in those reinforcements, the emergence of Pressly has given the Twins a whole new weapon. Not relegated to any certain role in relief, Molitor can dispatch the native Texan at any point during a game. Handling high-leverage is something that Pressly’s repertoire and results play into, and he’s an option plenty of clubs would find themselves envious of.

It’s silly to extrapolate Pressly’s current production and project that he won’t allow a single home run all of 2018. Obviously there’s also going to come a point in which some level of regression hits as speed bumps are uncovered. At the end of the day though, the Minnesota reliever has turned in roughly 13% of his 2017 output, and he’s doing so as one of the best bullpen options in the big leagues.

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10 Comments

Thanks for giving Pressly his due.  I was one who didn't think he'd ever turn the corner, but I'm glad I've been wrong about that.

    • glunn, MN_ExPat and bobs like this

Still a bit early.Pressly is a useful reliever.This season is still very young to start making conclusions about his degree of usefulness.More so because of a couple of things that are a bit of an aberration:

 

- He has been throwing his FB less than half of the time and his breaking stuff more than half of the time.I doubt that this continues through the season

 

- He is a full 1 mph off his FB velocity in 2017.Same reduction with the breaking stuff. Not a "high 90s" guy any more...

 

Only 8-1/3 IP.Give it 3 times that much and let's see how it goes...

    • mikelink45 likes this

The bullpen still worries me and Pressly too.At this point Addison Reed is a real plus, Duke and Rodney no so much, but all need more time to show what they have or don't have.Hildenberger is my biggest concern.He has been used a lot, but something is wrong or he just burned out last year.

 

Kinley and Moya seem to be holding places that could be better filled with some of the pitchers in the minors. This is not the bullpen I want to see with a winning team, but at least they are trying some things.Check back in a month and the individual grades will be more valid.

I just can'ttake articles about such small sample sizes seriously. I mean, I know you have to write about something, I get that. But waiting until the quarter mark of the season and see if things are still the same seems like a more valid take on a players performance.And even that could consist of a relative SSS.

Shows how tough it is to be a pitcher in major league ball. It is work, hard work. With film and all, a pitcher DOES need a variety of pitches that they can ALWAYS throw, as well as being in sync with the catcher and forming an overall game plan with the coaching staff. Especially relief pitchers.

 

Pressly has the stuff. Remember Jesse Crain? I thought, going into last season, that Pressly could be a closer candidate. Still do.

 

As for the Twins bullpen staff this year:

 

Hildenberger is suffering in the same way Pressly did last season. The league has film. They have caught up to him. He's tipping his pitches, especially coming out of the pen. He needs work. Maybe better to do that at AAA for a short spell.

 

Busenitz has shown that he worked out some kinks in spring training, did his job at Rochester, and following a game plan, of sorts. It can be done.

 

Yes, I am disappointed that Kinley isn't getting innings. Here is a guy that is a workable canvas. He has nothing but expectations. No ego. He is there to mold into a pitcher by a major league staff. And he does have the stuff. For him, having a couple of major league coaches work with him and to be in the big league environment is a plus. I feel betetr about him on staff/ Just wish Molitor would take a bigger chance with him early in the season.

 

Moya is solid. He could probably go back down and be told to work on specific stuff. He probably will be the one cut (although I would send out Hildenberger, unless Hughes could also be used in relief when the Twins don't need a #5).

 

But back to Pressly. It will be interesting to see how he is used. Duke should be a 1-2 batter pitcher. Rodney, although entertaining, isn't the longterm guy we want to trot out in close save situations. He (hopefully) can keep himself in the game and possibly become flippable. Pretty sure it is closing or nothing with him. That is a decision the Twins will need to make in a couple of months for sure. 

 

Happily there are arms in the wings. Curtiss, Reed, any number of potential starter candidates who could jsut use major league exposure on the short end before becoming a starter.

 

You do have to feel good, overall, for the Twins pitching this season.

 

Thanks for giving Pressly his due.  I was one who didn't think he'd ever turn the corner, but I'm glad I've been wrong about that.

Ditto

8+ isa very small sample size, but he appears to be getting closer to what his potential always was.B/c he threw upper 90s our expectations may have been unfairly high for a Rule 5 pick.With Hildenberger not as much of a mystery so far in 2018, Pressly could become an important part of the bullpen.

...as in, get Zach Duke out of the 7th inning role and to a lefty specialist.Rogers, Pressly, Reed, Rodney can be a very good back end of the 'pen.

Photo
nicksaviking
Apr 20 2018 08:50 AM

 

Still a bit early.Pressly is a useful reliever.This season is still very young to start making conclusions about his degree of usefulness.More so because of a couple of things that are a bit of an aberration:

 

- He has been throwing his FB less than half of the time and his breaking stuff more than half of the time.I doubt that this continues through the season

 

- He is a full 1 mph off his FB velocity in 2017.Same reduction with the breaking stuff. Not a "high 90s" guy any more...

 

 

 

According to Fangraphs maybe. Brooksbaseball has his April Velocity and pitch usage the same as last year.

 

http://www.brooksbas...0/2018&s_type=2

 

 http://www.brooksbas...0/2018&s_type=2

 

 

I'd like to go a whole season without ragging on R Pressly. Maybe this will be the season.

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