P2Daily: First Impressions of Ricky DeVito

GREENSBORO, NC – Yesterday, I got my first look at Ricky DeVito, a right-handed pitching prospect who the Pirates acquired from the Braves last year for Richard Rodriguez.

DeVito has been pitching for Greensboro this year, and on the season he has a 4.70 ERA in 67 innings of work.  He has mostly pitched as a multi-inning reliever this year. However, the Pirates have been getting him work as a starter since the beginning of August. Last night he went four innings, giving up two runs on three hits, with a walk and eight strikeouts.

It was a great result, and the strikeout below to end the second inning is a sample of what makes DeVito so interesting.

First of all, the splitter that DeVito throws is nasty. He can drop that pitch in for strikes, leaving opposing hitters with no chance. He can do this pretty effortlessly, as you can see in the second pitch of this three-pitch strikeout.

On the third pitch, he looks to add a little bit of effort, and while he gets the strikeout, the ball does flirt with leaving the zone, only to be saved by an outstanding framing job by Abrahan Gutierrez.

Watching DeVito from the side, there was a common issue I saw.

On the night, DeVito was the only pitcher who was having issues with the mound. In the third pitch of the video above, he slipped and lost his balance. I don’t usually like to show these kinds of blooper type clips, because players make mistakes all the time. I kept this because it was something which happened a few times on the night.

DeVito has ridiculous strikeout numbers this year, with 87 in 67 innings after adding eight more last night. That splitter has to play a big role in the season total.

He also struggles with control, with 41 walks in 67 innings. My guess is the control issues come from this inconsistent landing.

DeVito has high effort arm action, and if his foot doesn’t land steady, he’s very capable of his upper body getting thrown off balance. He would also have the tendency to yank his pitches across and out of the zone, especially on pitches where he adds a bit more effort.

He only had one walk last night, but it came in a high pressure situation. DeVito set down the first eight batters in order, before giving up back-to-back soft singles in the third. After a double steal, he issued that walk — with his effort ramping up and his control faltering. A double followed that, bringing in his two runs.

DeVito struck out the next batter, and struck out the side in the fourth.

The unsteady landing isn’t a new issue for DeVito, although his splitter has been the bigger focus, and rightfully so. You can’t teach that splitter. You can teach Ricky DeVito a consistent steady landing.

Overall, it was a great first impression. DeVito’s stuff is nasty, and if he can consistently drop that splitter in for strikes, he could reach the majors. He’s going to need to fix his control issues first, and I think that just has to do with the effort level on his pitches. His normal is already high effort, and it’s effective. When he starts to ramp it up, that’s when I believe the issues come into play — and with his stuff, it seems unnecessary that he add anything additional effort.


I’m in Greensboro this weekend, and will have coverage from the team in Tuesday’s article drop.

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Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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