The Houston Astros have traded highly touted youngsters Gilberto Celestino and Jorge Alcala to the Minnesota Twins for right-handed relief pitcher Ryan Pressly. There’s a lot to unpack here, but suffice to say this appears on the surface to this writer to be an extremely gross overpay (based on what little we know publicly, compared to the treasure trove of information that the team has) for a reliever who is still very good and an exciting acquisition in a vacuum, irrespective of the acquisition cost.
Celestino (the Astros’ 15th best prospect, per MLB.com) is a potential five tool outfielder who’s very highly regarded by many evaluators, including JJ Cooper of Baseball America:
Love this return for the Twins. Celestino is a few away but promising CF. Alcala is a very impressive arm.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) July 28, 2018
As he mentions, Alcala is a very well regarded power arm that routinely lives in the upper nineties and touches triple digits occasionally. He’s a little old for his level at 23 and has struggled both with control and with secondary offerings at times, but appears to have turned a corner to an extent recently.
Either prospect alone would have been a lot to give up for this (admittedly good) reliever though...much less both together.
Setting aside the obvious antipathy for the acquisition price, an objective and dispassionate evaluation of Pressly does definitely show a relief arm that is an exciting get. Despite a fairly pedestrian career K/9 mark of 8.01 and career FIP (3.71) and xFIP (3.96) marks, Pressly has shown quite a lot of improvement this year (largely thanks to a vastly improved slider - a notable Astros fetish) in terms of K/9 (up to a gaudy 13.03 so far this season) while maintaining his typically-excellent WPA and RE24 generation abilities.
All in all, he will bolster a bullpen which didn’t really need bolstering, recent struggles notwithstanding, and he will do so at an exorbitant cost (not financially, of course, as he is controlled through 2019 via arbitration) but he is an exciting, fireballing (average velocity of 96 miles per hour on his fastball) reliever to appease the masses.
If you missed it, Crawfish Boxes reader HebrewHammah called this on the article I posted earlier this evening about potential bullpen pieces in the comment section. Go check it out!