Idea #1: Utilize Chris Devenski in a variety of roles
One of baseball’s well-kept secrets for nearly a year was the emergence of Chris Devenski. The right-hander since his debut early last season has been a revelation for the Astros. His 2.2 WAR was the ninth-best out of all qualified relievers in 2016. But what makes Devenski truly interesting is ability to pitch multiple innings in a single outing. In fact, he pitched the third-most innings last season, 83.2, out of all qualifying relievers. When you combine the two, you arguably have one of the best relievers in baseball.
Flash forward to the current season, and Devenski has gotten off to a terrific start. Before last night’s game, he has pithed in eight innings while striking out 14 and walking just one batter. Oh, Devenski has also allowed only a lone run. Thanks to his efforts, he has kept the team in close games.
One interesting way that the Astros could use Devenski is to pitch him in different scenarios. For example, the team could let him pitch from, let’s say, the sixth inning through the eighth if the game is close and the starter is finished early on. Or utilize him in high leverage situations, no matter the inning. Long outings or short appearances. Start him on occasion. Baseball may not have a true bullpen revolution for quite some time. However, Devenski and his usage this season could be part of the catalyst of change. He could be the definition of a true “swing pitcher”. And if he is effective in such a role, then baseball would be better for it. Dang it, I want to witness a pitcher revolution at some point in my lifetime. It is long overdue.