One of the top pitchers in 2016 spring training for the Houston Astros was rookie right-hander Christopher Devenski. He threw 10.1 innings in big league camp, allowing one earned run on 10 hits, but with zero walks and 15 strikeouts. Devenski opened the season in Triple-A but was called up to Houston last Friday without having thrown a pitch for Fresno.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Chris Devenski, RHP, Houston Astros
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-3 WT: 210 DOB: November 13, 1990
2013: Grade C; 2014: Grade C; 2015: Grade C
Devenski was drafted by the White Sox in the 25th round in 2011 out of Cal State Fullerton. The Astros picked him up in the 2012 Brett Myers trade. Devenski has average fastball velocity in the 88-91 range. He has an average curveball and an above-average change-up. He throws strikes and has had success as both a starter and reliever. It isn’t a fancy schmancy profile but he has the basics necessary to be a viable long reliever who can start in an emergency. He also has a good makeup reputation which could give him a slight opportunity edge over the dozens of similar pitchers in the minors. Grade C.
Devenski made his big league debut on April 8th, throwing three strong innings of relief against the Brewers, giving up one hit and zero walks with four strikeouts. That looks very much like a continuation of his strong pitching from spring training.
Devenski topped out at 93 MPH with his fastball against the Brewers and made frequent use of his change-up. Most of his minor league innings have been as a starter and reports from the Texas League last summer (where he went 7-4, 3.01 with a 104/33 K/BB in 120 innings for Corpus Christi) pegged his fastball at 88-91. TL reports also described his breaking ball as a curveball, but Pitch F/X this year reads it as a slider. In any event he doesn't use it as much as the fastball and change.
Here's a look at the slower "curve" breaker crossing up Joey Gallo in 2014.
Here's a look at the harder "slider" type breaking ball.
Devenski's feel for pitching is impressive and I suspect both his fastball and breaking ball play up when he comes out of the bullpen. He projects as an ideal long reliever who you can start if necessary; in the old days he is the type of guy who would start 10 games a season and relieve in 25.