What to Expect Going Forward
I’ve already said I don’t think it’s reasonable for fans to think he’ll revert to his 2016 form simply because there seemed to be so many outliers in his numbers that year. His 2017 season would be a more realistic target, but even then I don’t think that would necessarily be fair. Things have changed since then.
For one, Devenski now has more of a history around the league, which means hitters have more to study. They can get a better sense of his tendencies and ways to pick up his pitches, so he may simply not be the utterly dominant force he was in his first couple of seasons.
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But there’s certainly some room for improvement, and I think he should be able to settle in as a solid middle reliever with an ERA in the low-to-mid threes. To do that, perhaps the biggest thing that’ll help is to find that extra bit of movement on his fastball and changeup that was lacking in 2019. Hopefully pitching coach Brent Strom can help with that.
Consistency will be key as well. Over the past couple of years there have been outings where he’s looked flat out untouchable, and there have also been outings where he got hit pretty hard. Every pitcher has a rough night every so often, so it’s a matter of having as few of those as possible. Easier said than done, I know.
But the key in his overall numbers isn’t walks or strikeouts — it’s hits and home runs. Whatever he can do to cut down on those will help him out the most. He still has the stuff to get hitters out and be an important piece of the Astros bullpen, and these last few weeks of the season will be key as he tries to reestablish himself as one of the team’s best relievers.