What separates a closer from the rest of the relievers in the bullpen? Mindset. A closer must have an attack and kill mentality. A closer has to have a short memory. A closer has to have one thing on his mind, give me the ball so I can get outs. Houston Astros pitcher Ryan Pressly does not have the mindset of a closer and this concerns me heading into the 2021 season.
When Roberto Osuna was hurt early in the season last year, Ryan Pressly was thrust into the closer’s role. I whole heartedly supported the decision. Up to that point in his career, Pressly had accumulated six saves in seven years. Not exactly the track record you want from a ninth inning guy. Saves are just stats though.
Since arriving in Houston from Minnesota, Pressly has been dominant. In 26 games in 2018 after being acquired in a mid-season trade, Pressly had an ERA of 0.77 with the Astros. The following year he was an All-Star. In 2020, as the closer, his numbers fell off some, though understandably for a guy in a new role.
Nonetheless, the Astros were one win away from the World Series.
After failing to sign a proven closer this offseason, Pressly appears to be in line for the job.
Houston Astros closer Ryan Pressly may get the ball in the ninth inning this year, though he isn’t putting minds at ease with his comments.
The correct answer would be any of the following. Yes. I’m excited for the opportunity. I have what it takes to be a lockdown closer in this league.
Every player, in every spring training camp, right now wants to get to the postseason. We know that. We want to know how you feel about being the full-time closer. The uncertainty in this answer should not only worry me, it should worry the Astros as well. They are partly to blame here, however. Maybe they haven’t come out and established Pressly as the closer. Maybe his response was because he is upset with not knowing his role.
Show some passion for the position though. Send the message to the Houston Astros the job is yours and you look forward to closing ballgames. If a team has two closers, they have no closers. Ryan Pressly just proved the Astros have the latter.