Astros reliever Chris Devenski has looked more dominant this past week. But is it too late for a playoff spot and what about the club option for 2020?
The postseason is creeping up on us and the Astros playoff roster is yet to be announced. There is stiff competition for the last couple of spots to occupy the bullpen. Chris Devenski is making a late-season push for one of those spots, but it may just be a case of too little, too late.
Devenski seems to have had two completely different careers since he came on the scene with the Astros in 2016. He had a stellar rookie season that year and even came in fourth in the voting for Rookie of the Year.
In his debut season, he appeared in 48 games and ended the year with an impressive 2.16 ERA. Devenski rang up 104 strikeouts while relinquishing just 26 earned runs and an incredibly low 4 home runs in his 108.1 innings of work.
Devenski’s next season also went very well, as did the first half of his 2018 season. But the bottom seemed to fall out at the beginning of July last year. From the beginning of last season through June, he had an ERA of 1.34 and a 2.249 WPA. Over rest of the season, his ERA skyrocketed to 11.20 and his WPA plummetted to a -1.490.
The second half of that season was a smaller sample of games, due to missing almost all of August after going on the DL for a hamstring issue. So, maybe we could have given him the benefit of doubt, after all, when he returned at the beginning of this season he claimed himself 100% healthy and ready to return to his successful ways.
Well, 2019 hasn’t been so kind to Devenski. He’s carrying a 5.05 ERA and an ERA+ of 92, which is a significant difference from the ERA+ of 182 his rookie season. Comparing those career splits I mentioned before, from his Major League debut through June of ’17 his ERA was 2.22, ever since then he has a 6.10 ERA.
Hector Rondon, Jose Urquidy, and Josh James most likely have the edge over Devinski, as well as Framber Valdez and Bryan Abreu, looking impressive lately. I would have to guess that Chris Devenski is on the outside looking in and may be watching the playoffs from home.
This troubling trend in his numbers year over year may even jeopardize his career here in Houston. This season, Devenski is earning $1.525 million from a one-year contract. The Astros have a club option to sign him in 2020 at the cost of $2.625 million, a considerable raise.
With several of the relief pitchers that have been called up this season getting more experience and improving over time, the front office will have to take a long hard look at bringing him back next season at that price.