P2Daily: Ricky DeVito Pitching Better In Longer Outings

Although he was acquired during last year’s trade deadline, Ricky DeVito didn’t make his pitching debut in the Pirates system until this season, pitching for the Greensboro Grasshoppers.

Usually the first thing you check after seeing a Greensboro pitcher with a high ERA is what his home/away splits are, as that can usually paint a clear picture as to what’s going on.

That hasn’t been the case for DeVito, who has posted an ERA of over five both on the home and on the road.

There is something interesting in looking at how DeVito has been utilized, however. Up until this season he had been primarily part of the rotation, with 13 of his 17 appearances coming as a starter.

In outings where DeVito has completed at least three innings, he’s posted a 2.70 ERA, while allowing six walks.

His total ERA on the season is 5.03, and has struggled with walks, issuing a free pass 14% of the time. Both of those issues seem cleared up in the six appearances that he’s thrown at least three innings.

Small sample size, yes, but the Pirates are clearly starting to stretch him out a bit more, so we will get the rest of the season to see how it plays out.

With a ’70-grade’ splitter according to FanGraphs, DeVito could be an interesting rotation option for the Pirates in Altoona next season if they continue to stretch him out and he has success doing so.

Other Notes

— Hudson Head is starting to hit for a little bit of power in the month of August, with seven extra-base hits so far, two of which home runs. It’s still not ideal, but he’s also striking out just 25% of the time, which is still an improvement off his season mark of 33.5%. He’s got the tools, it’s just a matter of making consistent contact.

–Johan Oviedo is starting to settle in with Indianapolis right now, striking out five in 2 2/3 innings on Sunday. The Pirates are planning on stretching him out and having him as an option for the rotation in 2023. The success he’s having right now in Triple-A may speak more to what he might the most success doing, however, as a multi-inning reliever.

He’s allowed just one run over 7 2/3 innings, striking out nine and walking only two. That’s with never pitching more than the 2 2/3 innings he pitched on Sunday.

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skliesen

I have a question regarding Andy Haines’ reported reputation for wanting hitters to take more pitches.

First, is this backed up by data, or was the reputation earned due to Yelich saying that about him after he was fired last year?

Next an observation, what is the benefit of a hitter being someone who either “always” swings or takes the 1st pitch of an AB? Seems like a good Pitcher could take advantage of a hitter who has a tendency to be either overly aggressive or passive to begin an AB.

I’m too lazy to do the research, but I’d be willing to bet the best hitters in the game, Judge, Trout, Ohtani, Goldy, Betts, etc. don’t find themselves on the fringe of 1st pitch swing %.

NMR

I don’t know what Yelich said and I have no allegiances to Andy Haines but this one is super weird to me.

The best way I can think of to identify an intentional change in approach would be to compare players who were here prior to Haines and this year with him; those guys are Hayes, Newman, and Reynolds.

None of them have seen swing rates move by more than 2%, and two out of the three are swinging more under Haines. Same applies to first pitch swing percentages.

The Brewers as a team, unchained by the shackles of Andy Haines’ passive approach, currently rank…30th in first pitch swing rate.

Christian Yelich himself, just a 1% increase in swing rate, all of which and more have been chases. Only five qualified hitters have swung at fewer first pitches.

No matter how you slice the data, I don’t see any signal here at all.

NMR

Good hitters are also all over the board on first pitch swing rate, no correlation at all.

Soto, Lindor, Ramirez, Stanton, Betts, Goldschmidt all swing among the rarest. Harper, Machado, Ohtani, Altuve among the most frequent.

skliesen

Color me surprised.

Thanks for doing the heavy lifting.

emjayinTN

Thanks for the research and results. Good hitters are always in tune with the conditions of the game they are playing that particular day and will swing at good pitches anytime they get something they are looking for. Most know the pitchers and know how to adjust to everything they throw. But sometimes pitchers are just that sharp that they cannot adjust successfully.

joesolo6181

I didn’t recognize Mason Martin with that beard in his video.

PirateRican21

Murph, I’m a big fan of your articles, but this one is confusing me. Here is my confusion, did he lasted less than 3 because he sucked that day or scheduled to go multiple innings? Makes sense that the games he lasted 3 was because he was better? Am I making sense?

SportFanFam

They tried turning a starter into a high stress reliever and when u get weak contact and passed balls for Strikeouts “at least 10 that I have seen” that are ruled Wild pitches and the guy reaches 1B which will balloon ERA that could be a problem. The kid has electric stuff and can be hard to handle behind the plate. Yes can get wild. And no batter is comfy at the plate when throwing 96 Maybe the 2 guys catching him now are much better receivers as what I can see. The other guy barrels but needs work behind the plate. Yet was still promoted.

leefieux

Good stuff as usual, but none of the prospects you talked about have created strong expectations on my heart, unfortunately. Head sounds like a Max Moroff clone batting wise.

leefieux

Nor am I, I agree with you. Perhaps they want to give it one last try? But, he would sure look good in our bullpen RIGHT NOW! But, hey, Ben knows what he is doing, right? 🙂

I sure hope it clicks for Head. I want to see that K rate continue to come down before I get excited. Same with Nick Gonzales….and now O’Neill Cruz. I am old school and I hate high K rates. But at least Head and Nick draw walks. Cruz???

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