On Wednesday, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported that former Houston Astros relief pitcher Chris Devenski had signed a minor-league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. After the Houston Astros lost George Springer and Michael Brantley, the team now parts with a former dominant arm from their bullpen.
Devenski was drafted in the 25th round in 2011 by the Chicago White Sox, but his time on the Southside would be cut short as he was traded to the Astros in 2012. On July 21, 2012, the White Sox sent a player to be named later, Matt Heidenreich and Blair Walters to the Astros for Brett Myers and cash. That player to be named later was Devenski. Heidenreich and Walters never escaped the minors, and Myers would only play 39 more games in his career. Devenski would have the most future impact of all the players in this trade.
In 2016, the right-hander would appear in 48 games, while some of them began in the first inning, the Astros soon found his role in the bullpen. Devenski would post a 2.16 ERA through 108.1 innings with 104 strikeouts. The future was bright for the wild relief pitcher, as he finished fourth in American League Rookie of the Year voting for the ’16 season.
Devenski would continue his hot stretch into the 2017 championship season. He would be selected for his only All-Star game that year as well, where he would pitch one scoreless inning with a strikeout. He would post a 2.68 ERA through 80.2 innings along with 100 strikeouts for the season. Devenski was starting to look like the future of the Astros front end of the bullpen, but a career dip was about to happen.
From 2018-2020, the righty battled injuries that highly affected his play. During this stretch, he would pitch in 111 games (116.1 innings). His ERA would climb to 4.56, and he would only strike out 123 batters. These struggles also were shown in his postseason stat line as his career October ERA is 9.00. Devenski wasn’t the biggest strikeout magician, but he will be remembered for his great breaking pitches and curveball.
Devenski missed most of 2020 with an elbow injury and would end up having surgery to remove a bone spur in September. The right-hander will join former Astros J.B. Bukauskas, Corbin Martin, Seth Beer, and Josh Rojas in the desert. His minor-league contract includes $1 million if he makes the club and a $350,000 roster bonus based on games and games finished.
Devenski finished his Astros career with a 16-16 record, 3.35 ERA and 332 strikeouts. He has become a “What if?” player for the Astros and will be remembered for his great personality, his awesome nicknames, and his ability to make hitters feel silly in the box.