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Astros Acquire Ryan Pressly, Twins Gets Plenty Of Upside

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Ryan Pressly (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

The Astros seem well-equipped to defend their World Series title, but in an American League loaded with talented teams, even Houston sees a need to firm up its roster for the playoff run. Houston did just that on Friday night, acquiring righthanded reliever Ryan Pressly from the Twins.

The Twins remain on the periphery of the AL Central race four days before the July 31 trade deadline, but they signalled that they are looking toward the future with the decision to trade both Eduardo Escobar and Pressly on Friday. Around those trades, the Twins also lost to the Red Sox in extra innings on Friday night, dropping them to eight games behind the Indians.

ASTROS ACQUIRE:

Ryan Pressly, RHP
Age: 29

Pressly has proven to be a durable, valuable setup man, generally pitching the sixth or seventh innings for the Twins. He had a rough stretch in June when he gave up two runs in three consecutive outings, but has since settled back down. Pressly has a hard (95-97 mph) fastball and an equally hard (89-91 mph) slider. That combo this year has resulted in the best strikeout rate (13.0 K/9) of his career. With the Astros, he will become yet another option in a deep bullpen. Pressly has one more year of arbitration remaining before he hits free agency after the 2019 season.

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Top MLB Prospects In The Minor Leagues

The top MLB prospects in each minor league, complete with a scouting report.

TWINS ACQUIRE:

Jorge Alcala, RHP
Age: 22

The Astros have had plenty of success signing older (18 and 19-year-old) pitchers out of Latin America with promising arms (and often then trading them to other teams). Alcala is one of the prime examples, following in the footsteps of Jorge Guzman and Albert Abreu. Alcala has gained 6-10 mph on his fastball since he signed as an 18-year-old as he now sits 93-96 mph as a starter and touches 99 mph. When he lets loose, Alcala has a plus-plus fastball, but there are times as a starter where he gears down to try to maintain his stamina. At his best, he’s reached triple digits in the past. There are days when Alcala looks like a one-pitch pitcher trying to start, but seen on the right days, he has the makings of being a devastating bullpen option. His slider and changeup are both inconsistent offerings, but his 85-86 mph slider flashes plus and his changeup has improved this year as well, becoming a potentially average pitch. Most likely, Alcala ends up as a setup man with closer potential, but his delivery is clean so there is a chance he could develop into a Reynaldo Lopez-type starter.

Gilberto Celestino, OF
Age: 19

Celestino was considered one of the top prospects in the 2015 international class because of his polish and athleticism. That class has proven to be one of the best assemblages of amateur talent this century (Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Andres Gimenez, among others), while Celestino has been on a slower track. But he’s impressed in the New York-Penn League this year with plus defense in center field and developing power at the plate. Celestino has plenty of bat speed and the awareness to recognize breaking balls and changeups out of the hand. Celestino is only an average runner right now, although he uses that speed extremely well. If he slows down, his advanced reads and routes may not be enough to keep him in center field long-term, and his average power potential would not fit as well in right field (although he has the arm to play the position). Celestino could end up as a plus defender in center with the ability to hit .270 with 15-20 home runs, with a fourth-outfield future as a decent fallback option.

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