Ryan Pressly, RHP
Ryan Pressly may be the most obvious name on the list so far to be a potential X-Factor but that’s just how good he is and how criminally underrated he is. The Houston Astros acquired Pressly at the deadline last year at a decent price and he didn’t disappoint.
Now, heading into his first full year in Houston, Pressly is primed to show the league how talented he really is and what he can really provide to a true contender. Pressly has what is likely the best swing-and-miss arsenal on the team, let alone the bullpen. This includes a curveball with the best spin rate in all of baseball.
Pressly will likely have one of the highest leverage roles in the bullpen for Hinch and the Astros this season while primarily serving as the team’s primary setup man to get to closer Roberto Osuna. But, he’ll likely be inserted into games whenever the team needs him as the situation demands because he is that good.
In 26 appearances as an Astro last year, Pressly was about as excellent as anyone could have imagined. He had a 0.77 ERA and 0.60 WHIP on top of averaging 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings to only 1.2 walks per nine innings. If you do that math, that means he struck out over 10 batters for every one that he walked.
Pressly likely won’t be able to maintain those numbers over the course of a full season, it would be entirely unrealistic. However, it remains a very real possibility that he will be one of the best relievers in baseball. Having a guy like that in the bullpen will be pivotal to getting back to the World Series and winning it.