December 6, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Fields, who was acquired at the trade deadline in 2011 from Seattle along with Erik Bedard, has pitched well during his time with the Red Sox. Over two seasons, he has thrown 75 2/3 innings, allowing only 48 hits with an ERA of 2.26, while walking 28 and striking out 103. He saved his best for the end of last season, as he allowed only one run over his final 15 2/3 innings with Portland, and then did not allow a run in 13 2/3 innings following his promotion to Pawtucket.
Fields features a low-90s fastball that can touch 95 and a 12-6 curveball that flashes plus potential. Despite the good velocity, Fields’ fastball is very straight, and he sometimes gets away with fastballs that are up in the zone that major league hitters will not miss. The 27-year-old has a good chance of sticking in the Astros bullpen, so expect to see him a few times as the Astros move to the American League.
Pressly, an 11th-round pick in the 2007 draft out of Marcus High School in Texas, found some success after he was moved to the bullpen in the middle of last season. After posting a 2.93 ERA in 27 2/3 innings in Double-A, where he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen, Pressly continued to have good results in the Arizona Fall League. In the tough pitching environment, Pressly allowed six runs in 14 innings, walking only one and striking out 18.
Pressly features four pitches, but none of them grade out as plus. He relies heavily on his cutter, but also has a four-seam fastball that sits in the low 90s, as well as a curveball and a changeup, both of which are inconsistent. He seems like a longshot to stick on a major league roster, but the Twins are not rich with pitching, so he will get a fair chance. Scouts have long had an eye on Pressly as a pitcher whose stuff was better than his numbers suggested.
Photo Credits: Josh Fields and Ryan Pressly by Kelly O'Connor