HOUSTON -- The Astros made their second trade in two days on Friday night, bolstering their bullpen by acquiring Twins right-hander Thomas Pressly in exchange for Minor Leaguers Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino.
The acquisition of Pressly gives Houston another quality late-inning relief option, one who is under team control through 2019. The Astros optioned left-handed pitcher Cionel Perez to Triple-A Fresno following an 11-2 loss to the Rangers.
"He's somebody that we looked at pretty hard and he fits how we like to pitch," manager AJ Hinch said. "He fits in a lot of different roles for us. I need to shake his hand first before I kind of know what we're going to do with him. I knew it was in the works."
Pressly, 29, has been one of the top relievers in the American League this season, going 1-1 with a 3.40 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings out of Minnesota's bullpen. Among AL relievers, he ranks tied for second in appearances (51), tied for third in strikeouts and seventh in strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio (13.03).
Opposing hitters have whiffed on 36.6 percent of the swings they have taken against Pressly this season, which is the fifth-best mark in the AL behind Edwin Diaz (40.6), Craig Kimbrel (39.4), Dellin Betances (37.6) and Albertin Chapman (37.3).
"I'm letting it sink in right now," said Pressly, who's from Dallas. "I think tomorrow morning when I wake up, I'm heading back home to Houston, it's going to be nice, it's going to fun. I'm excited to meet my new teammates and help that team win some games and get back to the World Series."
Pressly's four-seam fastball has the fifth-highest spin rate in the Majors this year (2,580 rpm) and his curveball has the second-highest spin rate (3,199), according to Statcast™. If you've followed the Astros for any length of time you understand their affinity for high spin rates. He also throws the fourth-hardest slider in baseball this year at 89.6-mph.
"Obviously, we'd like to get him in and get him comfortable with the way we do things around here," Astros starter Dallas Keuchel said. "Pressly should be fitting in nicely with our bullpen. He's having a really good year and hopefully he comes in and continues to be on the roll he's on."
The Astros paid a stiff price for Pressly by sending Alcala and Celestino to the Twins. A hard-throwing right-hander, Alcala was ranked as the Astros' No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline, with outfielder Celestino No. 15.
On Thursday, the Astros traded for Angels catcher Martin Maldonado, the 2017 American League Gold Glove Award winner at the position.