Despite being a 25th round pick five years ago, Chris Devenski has reached the Show, and has done nothing but succeed.
A minor league Grinder, Chris Devenski fought his way to the major leagues. Carrying a career 4.37 ERA through the Minor Leagues, Devenski arrived in Houston after not making the team out of spring training. He was called up after game two of the season and started out pitching in the bullpen.
He made his debut April 8th, against the Milwaukee Brewers. Devenski threw three innings in relief, giving up one hit and striking out four.
Devenski stayed in a bullpen role up until the injury to fellow youngster Lance McCullers Jr., who was having some elbow and shoulder discomfort. Making his first major league start on April 30th against the Athletics, Devenski pitched five innings, allowing two Earned runs and striking out four. Devenski ultimately would spend most of the year as the team’s long relief man, and boy did he prove valuable.
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Devenski is my pick for Astros Rookie of the Year, and I will tell you why. He finished the season with an impressive stat line, sporting an ERA at 2.16, and only allowed four home runs in 108 innings pitched. Hitters hit only .206 against Devenski, and 25% of those at-bats, ended in strikeouts.
He appeared in 48 games in 2016 and became the guy who would keep the team in games when the starter had dug them into a hole. He walked only 20 batters, and struck out 104, and averaged 8.6 strikeouts per 9 Innings.
Devenski showed more heat than anyone had expected, sitting between 90-93 mph, and consistently reached up to 95 and 96 mph. He throws a devastating change-up off of that, and is not afraid to work in on hitters. Devenski also plays with a mean streak, and a bit of swagger to him that is refreshing to see.
Devenski showed the potential to be a very solid long relief man, and maybe even a 3 or 4 spot starter. He has put himself in a position to be considered for a rotation spot come 2017.
***Statistics Courtesy of baseballreference.com***