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Rule 5 PickRyan Pressly Looking for an Opportunity

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The Twins have had some good success over the years in the Rule 5 draft. Shane Mack became part of the 1991 Minnesota Twins World Series championship team as is one of the more underrated players in Twins history. Garry Wayne had a couple of solid seasons with the Twins as a left-handed reliever. Doug Corbett had a couple of good years and was later dealt to the Angels for Tom Brunansky. Obviously the Twins selection of Jared Camp was terrific because they were immediately able to trade him to the Marlins for one Johan Santana. And two years ago, the team selected Scott Diamond who was arguably their top pitcher in 2012.

Will 2012 Rule 5 draft selection Ryan Pressly be able to have an impact on the Twins organization? Well, only time, and spring training success, will tell.

Most are aware of the Rule 5 scenario, but just as a reminder, I’ll include the following. A Rule 5 pick (Major League portion) must remain with the big league club throughout the season or be offered back to his previous club. Last year, their Rule 5 pick, Terry Doyle, was returned to the White Sox after a tough spring training. Scott Diamond, chosen the year before, had to be offered back to the Braves. However, Atlanta and Minnesota were able to work out a trade (for RHP Billy Bullock) that allowed the Twins to remove Diamond from their 40 man roster and keep him.

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As they did a year earlier, the Twins selected a right-handed pitcher who performed very well in the Arizona Fall League. Although he posted an ERA of 3.86, in 14 innings he struckout 18 batters and walked just one.

Regarding his AFL stint, Pressly remarked, “It went well. I never thought I’d be able to say it, but I threw too many strikes. When I told my dad that, he laughed too. Never thought I’d have that problem. 18 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio, I’ve never had that before. Hopefully it’s going to keep coming along.”

Pressly, the 11th round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2007’s Rule 4 draft, had been a starter throughout most of his minor league career. In 2012, he struggled in High-A and AA as a starter and was moved to the bullpen where he began to experience more success.

About his move to the bullpen, Pressly sees it as an opportunity. “Obviously I wasn’t throwing as well as I wanted to as a starter, so I thought the change to the bullpen was another opportunity. I want that opportunity. As a reliever, you can go out the next night, so I like the reliever role better.”

But it isn’t always easy to make the transition to the bullpen. Pressly said the transition wasn’t too bad. “I picked it up pretty quick. I picked the brains of guys who have been in the bullpen. They just kind of shoved me away. I want to run with it now.”

It might be the perfect role for the 6-3 right-hander as he had a tendency to dwell on a bad start for a few days. “The first two days you’re pretty disappointed because you want to go 6, 7, 8 innings. You want to help the bullpen out. I’ve been on both ends of that now, so I know how that feels. Yeah, I would kind of dwell on it a little bit because it would make me mad, more that I didn’t do as well as I could. But now as a reliever, you’ve got to get rid of it the second you’re off the mound.”

Pressly added, “As a starter, you have to pace yourself, obviously, but as a reliever, you can come in and reach back and let it go. With my velocity and strikes, I’m just going out and attacking hitters and not holding anything back.”

As Jeremy Nygaard wrote about him in the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2013, “Pressly throws three pitches: a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a curveball that sometimes looks like a slider and a deceptive changeup/cutter that is developing into a swing-and-miss pitch.”

So, what does he consider his put-away pitch? “Whatever the hitter shows me, I guess. It could be the sliders. It could be the curveball. It could be the fastball. Just kind of depends on how he approaches me.”
Pressly may not know all the faces of his new teammates, but he is not unfamiliar with the Twins organization. The Red Sox spring training complex is also in Ft. Myers and the two teams and their minor league teams play frequently.

So what is Pressly hoping to learn from working with the few veterans in the Twins bullpen like Glen Perkins and Jared Burton? “You can’t learn anything by talking, so I’m just going to out there and not speak unless spoken to. I want to watch and see what they do. See if it helps me. We’ll see what happens.”

As generally no more than two or three Rule 5 guys each year remain with the club that selects him, the odds that Pressley won’t be a member of the Twins bullpen on Opening Day. However, it can happen and has happen, and if not else, Spring Training is about opportunity, and that’s how Ryan Pressly is going to look at it.

“When they picked me I was pretty pumped. They have had some success with Rule 5 guys and hopefully I can keep that going. We’ll see what happens this spring.”
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