June 26, 2009 at 9:44 AM
The Red Sox selected right-handed pitcher Ryan Pressly in the eleventh round of the 2007 MLB Draft out of Marcus High School in Texas. Signing shortly after the draft, Pressly missed the entire 2007 season before making his debut in 2008 for the GCL Red Sox. In 10 games pitched, he compiled a 1-4 record with a 3.79 ERA in 40 1/3 innings. He battled a bout of shoulder tendonitis in spring training this year and was kept in extended spring training before being assigned to the Short Season A-ball Lowell Spinners. Jonathan Singer of SoxProspects.com had a chance to sit down with Ryan at a recent Spinners game.
Jonathan Singer: After being drafted in the eleventh round in 2007 and signing in mid-June 2007, was there a particular reason that you did not make your pro debut that year?
Ryan Pressly: During my senior year of high school baseball, I had an injury in which I tore my left ACL. I really didn’t do the proper rehab and I had to have another surgery. The second surgery was just a scope of the knee, and that is what kept me out that first season.
JS: What aspects of your game did the Red Sox have you work on from the time you signed until you debuted for the GCL Red Sox in 2008?
RP: The Red Sox really wanted to work on my control on the mound. That was first and foremost the important goal. They also wanted me to just build up my whole body because I was pretty skinny in high school - I was 155 pounds when I was drafted and now I am up to 185 pounds.
JS: Apart from the statistics, how would you say your debut went last season while pitching in the GCL?
RP: It wasn’t good but it wasn’t bad. I really didn’t have a lot of expectations going in, I just went out there and threw. The biggest thing that I need to do is limiting my walks because that is what killed me last year in the GCL. The Red Sox have stressed the importance of control on the mound, which will go a long way to limiting my walks.
JS: What's the biggest difference between facing premier high school competition in Texas vs. working through a GCL lineup?
RP: It’s pretty close in comparison. There is a lot talent that comes through Texas and it is like that in the GCL as well. Basically, no matter the talent level, you have to be able to compete at this stage, and that is something that I look to do each time that I'm out on that mound.
JS: You were invited to the Fall Instructional League this past offseason. Can you tell us a little about that experience?
RP: It was a good experience for me. I got to see and play with a lot of the top prospects in the organization. I got to pitch against guys like Casey Kelly and Mitch Dening, and if you make a mistake to them, they will capitalize on it. They know how to hit, and you just got to learn how to pitch and that’s the way it is. The Red Sox worked on my changeup and fastball command. They’re not too worried about my curveball right now.
JS: What are some of the goals that you have set for yourself coming into this season?
RP: Definitely to get out of Lowell, and I mean that in a good way. I already accomplished one goal when I got out of Fort Myers after almost 2 years. Right now I am here and I am just going to pitch my innings in order to get to the next level.
JS: Can you describe your repertoire on the mound?
RP: I throw a two-seam fastball, a curveball, and a changeup. I set up hitters with a fastball outside followed by a changeup outside, and then I try to run a curveball inside but sometimes that doesn’t always work the way you plan it. Basically, I just got to keep mixing my pitches up and keep batters guessing. Right now the curveball and the changeup are my best pitches. Surprisingly enough, I just need to work on my fastball command - I have to learn to command it to both sides of the plate.
JS: Which coach in the Sox system has influenced you the most? Which player has impressed you the most?
RP: For a coach I have to say [Latin Pitching Cordinator] Goose Gregson has really jumped my butt a couple of times, as he sees a lot of potential in me. For a player it’s definitely Casey Kelly. He’s 19 and already up in High-A ball. He’s been dealing pretty good.