Houston Astros: Who should get the call in the ninth in 2018?

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 13: Chris Devenski
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 13: Chris Devenski /
3 of 5
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 13: Chris Devenski
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 13: Chris Devenski /

Chris Devenski

Not many baseball fans realized that Chris Devenski pitched in the MLB last season. While he finished fourth in the American League in the Rookie of the Year voting, he was rarely recognized, due to a few subpar outings as a starter early last season.

But like many pitchers this season, the right-hander was most triumphant in the bullpen. The sophomore major-leaguer heads a group of pitchers that endured a trial as a starting pitcher, only to find success once moved to the bullpen. Archie Bradley, Chad Green and Kenta Made are just a few names that flourished in a similar situation this season.

Devenski never garnered much attention in the minor leagues. He didn’t dazzle with an exciting set of pitches. Yet, once he reached the MLB, his changeup became one of the most dominant pitches in the league.

The Cal State Fullerton product enjoyed a stellar K/9 ratio in 2017, racking up nearly 11 strikeouts per nine innings, thanks in part to the slow ball. Opposing hitters hit a measly .142 against it all season. His slider wasn’t bad either, as players batted a paltry .148 against it as well.

He won’t blow it by you – he maxes out at around 93 mph – and his stature won’t intimidate you. He’s become a very respected reliever in the league and was even called upon late in games to notch the save. Giles was Hinch’s go-to guy, but Devenski wasn’t far behind.

The most crucial aspect about Devenski, however, is that he can be used at any time. He can work in long relief or a situational role. His flexibility makes him a much more serious threat. But it also diminishes his chances of being placed in the closing role, unless he is absolutely needed to contribute late in games.

Anything is possible, but it seems like Hinch would instead use him in his current role – being used in any inning and any situation.