Astros Report Card: Grading the 2019 relief pitchers; Part I

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Will Harris #36 of the Houston Astros celebrates after retiring the side in the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals in Game Four of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Will Harris #36 of the Houston Astros celebrates after retiring the side in the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals in Game Four of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 26: Chris Devenski #47 of the Houston Astros delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 26, 2018, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The bullpen may look quite different in 2020 with four of them currently on the market, so in the 4th installment of the Astros Report Card, I’ll grade the relievers.

Houston utilized 18 relievers last season using everything from bullpen veterans and starters-turned-relievers to Minor League prospects trying to showcase their skills to make it in the big leagues. The Astros relievers as a collective unit fared well in 2019, placing in the top ten in the Major Leagues in most pitching statistical categories. But how well did each relief pitcher perform last season?

Chris Devenski:  D+

The leader among Astros relievers in innings pitched this year was Chris Devenski. In 2019, he appeared in 60 games and worked 67 innings in relief. Unfortunately, he also led the team with the highest ERA (4.84) of any other relief pitcher with 25 innings or more. Devenski also had the most earned runs surrendered out of the bullpen with 36.

That 4.84 ERA and his 1.30 WHIP are the worst in his four-year career and those two statistics have progressively gotten worse every year he’s pitched in the Major Leagues. Devenski’s ERA+ has also worsened every season, starting with a 182 in his rookie year, now down to 96 in 2019. He gave up more hits per nine innings (9.0) this year than ever.

The front office declined the $2.825 million club option for Devenski, leaning in favor of going the arbitration route. Houston looks to save money in the process, being that he’s projected to get $2 million in his arbitration case. That is IF they tender him a contract at all.

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