1) Chris Devenski’s Changeup
If you were to tell me that the player to be named later in the deal that sent Brett Myers to the White Sox in 2012 would be making an impact at the major league level in 2017, I would have laughed in your face.
Since his rookie season in 2016, RHP Chris Devenski has been one of the best and most underrated relief pitchers in all of baseball. This season has been nothing different. In eight appearances and 18.1 innings of work, the 26-year-old has a 1.96 ERA and a 0.55 WHIP with 34 strikeouts. Hitters have not been able to touch Devenski with a .125 average against this season.
For Devenski, his change-up is everything. He threw it a career high 42.86 percent of the time in April of this year. This is with hitters only hitting .091 against the pitch and whiffing 32.41 percent of the time.
Spin that ball!
The spin rate of his change-up is 260 rpm less than the average change up with only release point of 5.92 feet. The vertical movement of the pitch is the kicker. In April, the movement on the pitch averaged at 3.42 inches per change-up.
A perfect example is his last outing against the Texas Rangers on May 1. In which he threw 1.2 hitless innings, earning the win and striking out two. In the top of the eighth with one out, Devenski got DH Shin-Soo Choo to strike out on seven pitches. The first pitch and the last pitch of the at bat were both change-ups, each at 83.4 mph tailing towards the bottom of the strike zone. Choo swung through both of them for strike one and strike three respectively.
Whether Devenski’s future is as a set-up man, a closer or even as a starter, his pitch repertoire, and especially his change-up, will make him very successful in this league.
***Stats from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, MLB.com and Brooks Baseball.net***