Keeping up with the Astros Prospects: RHP Chris Devenski

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Chris Devenski Interview

Chris Devenski Corpus Christi Hooks. Photo courtesy Tammy Tucker, @HooksFanTammy

CTH: What was is like to be traded to the Astros for a country singer in Brett Myers? Have you listened to any of his songs?

Devenski: I have heard a few of his songs such as Kegerator, No Pain No Gain, and Black Creek. His songs are pretty cool. I was shocked at the time of the trade because I thought I was in a good place with the White Sox. But they became a stepping stone for me to become the pitcher I am today. It was shocking at first, but I took it day by day and found a new home with the Astros.

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CTH: When you were drafted out of college by the White Sox, you were a reliever. What lead to you becoming a starting pitcher in the minors?

Devenski: I was in the bullpen in my first year in Low-A ball, and there was an opening in the rotation for a game. They asked if I wanted to make that start, and my pitching coach thought I would be successful with my three pitches that I threw for strikes. I made the start and ended up pitching four innings while striking out eight hitters, so the next day my manager called me into his office, you will like this story, it’s funny.

Manager: Chris, you are now in the rotation.

Me: Wow, thanks!

Manager: The catch is, you are in the rotation on the rookie league Voyagers, we are sending you down, pack your bags.

Me: What, but…

Manager: I’m just kidding, you will get the ball for us four days from now, congrats.

CTH: MLB.Com has your ETA of 2016, do you see yourself making your debut as a starter or reliever when you get to Houston?

Devenski: I just see myself pitching in the big leagues, I don’t care what role I have. I want to be part of a championship team. Whether it’s this year or next, I just want to contribute towards a winning team. I don’t have a preference either way.

CTH: What traits do you have to be successful in the starting rotation and what traits do you have for the bullpen?

Devenski: I have three pitches that I throw for strikes, and I have a good tempo on the mound. I have great game preparation skills and like to study hitters scouting reports. I also know myself and have a drive to push myself deeper into games. One thing that I have worked on is trying to hold runners on better by improving my stretch delivery.

CTH: You were on the temporary inactive list, everything ok?

Devenski: It wasn’t anything serious or injury related, just something that I needed to work on to improve. I was working on some things, and sometimes beauty can come from ugly situations. I came back focused. (Note: In his return to the hill on Tuesday, he pitched six innings of shutout baseball while striking out eight.)

CTH: With all the big name prospects to come through Corpus this year, how have you been able to maintain your success?

Devenski: You are right, there have been a few great players to don the Hooks Uniforms this year. I just focus on myself, and we have been a team together all year, no matter who comes and goes. I just try to improve myself on a constant basis, like other players do.

CTH: Tell us a little about your pitching repertoire and what is your out pitch with a 3-2 count? Your go-to strikeout pitch?

Devenski: I throw a fastball, changeup, and curveball. I am comfortable throwing any of my pitches in a 3-2 count, but I would say that my go to would be to throw a fastball. However, I like to keep hitters off-balance so I would occasionally throw an offspeed pitch in an obvious fastball situation. I’m confident of throwing any of my pitches in any count.

CTH: When I was at the Corpus Game a few weeks ago, while I was waiting for some autographs, all the fans around there were saying that I had to interview Chris Devenski. Did you realize how revered you are with your Hooks fans, and what is your interactions with the fans?

Devenski: The fans in Corpus Christi are awesome, and I appreciate their support. I look forward to walking onto the field each day and think: I haven’t talked to this guy in a while, I need to introduce myself to this lady and tell her thank her for coming out, and just interact with the regulars. I enjoy the support, and I’m sure I will receive the same support when I get to Houston.

CTH: You have made the Astros top 30 prospect list for the first time; you are the 19th top Astros prospect. You opened some eyes to start off 2015 with a 27 inning scoreless streak, what was that like? Do you have any superstitions during a streak?

Devenski: I just go out a pitch, I focus on each start versus looking at what I have done over several starts. My mindset is outing by outing, even though some of the guys brought up the streak, but I didn’t think too much of it. With each start, I try to improve myself and get the team to win the game.

CTH: What are three interesting things Astros fans need to know about Chris Devenski?

Devenski: 1) I have developed a nickname this year, and it is Dragon. I’m trying to get it to stick. 2) I grew up in Long Beach California, and I was the only white kid in my neighborhood. From this experience, I have a place in my heart for the Latino community. 3) I like to read, to keep my mind and spirit fresh.

CTH: What’s your favorite book?

Devenski: You put me on the spot there, let me think. I know, let me pick a funny one. My favorite book is Captain Underpants. I know it’s not really a book, but I love the humor in the book.

Thanks to Chris Devenski for taking the time to answer my questions. I f you want to follow the only player traded for a Country singer, you can do so at @ddddeevvvoooo on Twitter.

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