Thursday, May 9, 2013

Contemplating Ryan Pressly

Ryan Pressly, working
most in long relief
and in mopup, has
walked eight and
struck out 11 so far.
The Twins take Rule 5 seriously. Over the years, they've probably mined more talent out of the leavings of rival farm systems than anybody. Johan Santana, Shane Mack, Scott Diamond, Gary Wayne  ... and now Ryan Pressly.

Pressly gave the Twins four innings of scoreless relief work Wednesday night and was credited with his first major league win. It came against the Red Sox — the team that drafted him, signed him, shifted him to the bullpen last summer and then left him off the 40-man roster in the fall. The Twins snagged Pressly in Rule 5, and he survived the numbers game in spring training, perhaps with help from some injuries.

Pressly's 1.72 ERA perhaps overstates his effectiveness so far; in 15.2 innings, the 24-year-old right-hander has allowed 15 hits and eight walks. Four of the seven runs he's been charged with are unearned.

He has been given few meaningful innings, and rightly so. Wednesday was an exception, and he got the call because Anthony Swarzak was used for three innings Monday and Josh Roenicke has been pitching with some frequency.

Mike Bernadino of the Pioneer Press has said a few times that there are people in the organization who would like to try returning Pressly to starting. That notion fits the farm system's interest in shifting power arms from the bullpen to the rotation.

But in Pressly's specific case, it should be noted that he scuffled as a starter in the Red Sox organization. He didn't emerge as a prospect until he was put in the bullpen. He has the kind of power arm that lends itself to an eventual late-inning role.

I would be wary of taking him out of his success zone — especially since the Twins have a fairly hefty stockpile of starting alternatives in the high minors. If they want or need to swap out one of the five current starters — and they might want to do that with Pedro Hernandez — Kyle Gibson, Sam Deduno, Cole De Vries and Alex Meyer would seem wiser alternatives.

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