Sunday, March 20, 2011
30 A's in 30 Days: Joey Devine
Acquired: Traded from Atlanta (with P Jamie Richmond) for OF Mark Kotsay (January 14, 2008).
Contract: One year thru 2011 (eligible for arbitration after 2011 season).
Position: Recovering flame-throwing reliever; answer to hundreds of useless trivia questions.
2011 Projected ERA: 3.60
2010 Season: Devine missed the entire 2010 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. So, let's fill this space with some random trivia. Devine was the first Atlanta Brave to reach the big leagues in the same season he was drafted since Bob Horner in 1978. From 1990-2005, only four players made their MLB debut before September 1 in the same year they were drafted -- including the face of the A's mid-1990s nadir, Ariel Prieto! Devine surrendered grand slams in his first two MLB appearances (a first, according to the Elias Sports Bureau). He gave up Chris Burke's NLDS-ending home run in the 18th inning at Houston. And, Devine's 0.59 ERA in 2008 with the A's is the lowest (minimum 25 IP) in history.
2011 Over/Under: Devine is still building back his arm speed, reapplying the polish on his breaking pitches and, at this writing, working through a "dead arm" period. Even though he's pitching in spring games, it's conceivable that he's one of the relievers temporarily squeezed out when the A's break camp. He famously struggled with the strike zone in Atlanta and if he's slow to find his command -- like many pitchers, post-Tommy John -- it could get ugly. He'll never post a sub 0.60 ERA again, but 3.60 seems way too high. Take the UNDER.
By the Numbers: 3 – The number of A's pitchers who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009. Devine was joined by SP Josh Outman and SP/RP Dan Giese. Outman made it back to camp and competed for the fifth starter spot before his demotion to minor league camp on Sunday. As for Giese...his was simultaneously the saddest ending AND best story of the three.
Surefire 2011 Prediction: Perhaps due to ineffectiveness or injury rehab or too many butts in the bullpen; Devine will split time between Oakland and AAA-Sacramento -- pitching more innings in the minors than in the Majors.
Old School Rap Track for the Season: Straighten It Out, Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth