As I watched Chris Devenski pitch in last night, I couldn’t help but notice three things that are making him so dominant in the Astros bullpen.
First pitch strikes
Chris Devenski has great velocity on his fastball. So, he challenges hitters on the first pitch to catch up with it. He started every count against every hitter he faced last night with a strike. Devo fed them 95-96 mph fastball around the heart of the plate, daring them to swing. He did not shy away from any hitters and used this to his advantage.
The change up
He has developed quite a secondary pitch in his change-up. He has an almost identical delivery move and points with this pitch. This 82-84 mph change-up provides just enough break and change in velocity to force hitters out in front of pitches. When you cannot see the pitch coming, it is as lethal as it gets.
Not only is this pitch difficult to hit after you’ve seen a fastball, but Devenski can also throw it for a strike at any moment. The variation in velocity combined with a similar delivery has given Devo a one-two punch out.
He expects to get outs
We are always told that positive thinking generates positive results. As I watched Devenski, I could not help but notice the steely resolve on his face. Devo does not look to be worried about anyone hitting off of him, or expecting to throw a bad pitch. He expects to generate outs and to perform at the highest level.
He has adapted to this role
Lastly, Devenski has adjusted his mindset to be a great middle reliever. It takes a bit of adjustment to how you approach the situation. You don’t often come in with a 0-0 score or with picture perfect scenarios regarding runners on base and the number of outs.
This line of work is sometimes gritty and messy. Devo has taken that mentality and used it to fuel his success. All in all, he attacks the situation and does everything he can to either maintain the lead or bring the Astros back into it.
***Statistics and Data gathered from Fan Graphs and Baseball-Reference***