Astros Countdown: Players to Watch in August

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 24: Reliever Chris Devenski
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 24: Reliever Chris Devenski /
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ATLANTA, GA – JULY 05: Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch
ATLANTA, GA – JULY 05: Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch /

The Astros are still rolling.

The Houston Astros have won 14 of 21 games in the month of July and are currently 18 games up on the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers for first place in the American League West. However, there are storylines going into the month of August. Here are five players to watch.

Chris Devenski

One of the feel-good stories for the Astros in 2017, Chris Devenski has been one of the best relievers in baseball this season. In 41 games this season, the 26-year-old has a 2.88 ERA with a 0.83 WHIP.

After a stellar rookie campaign in 2015 in which he has a 2.16 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP in 48 appearances, Devenski has become much more hard to hit this year. With a batting average against of only .163, he has struck out 78 batters in 59.1 innings of work, striking out 34.8 percent of all batters faced, the highest rate in his professional career.

The thing to watch with Devenski is how much the Astros use him down the stretch. He is tied with Michael Feliz for No. 2 on the Astros with 41 appearances this season. The biggest red flag in that is Devenski is averaging close over 1.1 innings of work per outing.

The wear and tear could already be affecting Devenski out of the bullpen. In the month of July, he has a 5.73 ERA, giving up seven earned runs, in 11 innings of work. The 11 innings of work is the least Devenski has pitched ina month in his major league career.

Devenski can be a valuable asset to the Astros out of the bullpen in October. However, with too many innings under his belt before then, that could hurt him in the long run.