We’re reviewing all 316 players to appear in Houston’s system in 2022, including all 45 to appear at the big league level.
Ryan Pressley is a six-foot-two, 206 lb. right-handed relief pitcher from Dallas, TX. Born on December 15, 1988, he was an 11th round choice of the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 draft out of high school. Taken 354th overall, Pressly is one of 10 players taken at that spot to go on to appear in the major leagues. The group is led by 1980 American League Cy Young Award winner Steve Stone (17.4 WAR).
Pressly didn’t get to the majors with Boston. In 2012, after 447 1⁄3 minor leagues innings pitched in the Red Sox’ system, he was left unprotected in the rule 5 draft and was selected by the Minnesota Twins. Prior to his time with Houston, he posted a 17-16 record in 281 contests with the Twins, putting up a 3.75 ERA and a 1.303 WHIP over 317 frames in total. Just prior to the 2018 trade deadline, the Twins sent him to Houston for Gilberto Celestino and Jorge Alcalá.
From his acquisition through the 2021 season, Pressly totaled 214 K’s in 162 1⁄3 innings, a 0.943 WHIP, and also made the American League All-Star Team twice. After starting the 2022 season with saves in his first three appearances, he went on the injured list due to wear-and-tear.
After returning, Pressly struck out the side on May 19 in a 5-1 win against the
mallcops Texas Rangers. On July 14, he put up his best WPA of the season, putting up a mark of .573 in a 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Angels. Pressly struck out three over two perfect innings, earning the victory.
In the postseason, Pressly appeared in 10 of Houston’s 13 contests on their way to the title. He struck out 13 in 11 innings, allowing only four hits, three walks, and no runs while collecting six saves. Of course, that includes the final pitch of the major league season.
Pressly trailed only Justin Verlander’s 0.829 WHIP out of the Astros pitchers, with a 0.890 mark. He was 3-3 with 33 saves and 65 strikeouts in 48 1⁄3 innings. He held opponents to a .181/.239/.277 slashline. Despite only coming up 0.9 WAR, he was also worth 2.6 WPA.
Statcast shows that Pressly had elite spin on both his fastball (97th percentile) and his curve (100th percentile). Although he started his career with a five-pitch mix, he gradually dropped first his changeup and then his sinker. Currently, he’s reliant on his slider (37 percent), his four-seamer (33 percent), and his curve (27 percent).
In addition to his elite spin rates, Pressly can also boast some serious movement on the curve. His 14.8 inches of vertical break rank him number six in the majors, and his 45.2 inches of horizontal break put him in the top 10 percent of all pitchers. He enters the 2023 season with three years remaining on his deal (including a vesting option in 2025), at $14 million per year.