Pittsburgh Pirates: Examining Potential Swingman Pitching Prospects

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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 20: A New Era pillbox Pittsburgh Pirates baseball hat is seen in the dugout during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 20, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Ricky DeVito

Acquired at the trade deadline, Ricky DeVito was part of a two-player package for Richard Rodriguez. The right-hander is the 37th ranked prospect in the Pirate farm system, per FanGraphs. For being an 8th round pick, being ranked as a top 40 prospect in a very deep system is pretty decent.

Last year, DeVito only pitched 20 innings but pitched well. He had a 2.66 ERA,3.57 FIP, and 1.279 WHIP. DeVito had a fantastic 29.7% strikeout rate and a 7.7% walk rate. Plus he had a solid .89 HR/9. DeVito gets hitter to put the ball on the ground, a lot. In 2021, he had a 66% ground ball rate. Among all levels he has pitched at in his pro career, his lowest ground ball rate is 59.5%. His great groundball rate led to a 3.11 xFIP.

DeVito has a three-pitch mix. His four-seam fastball averaged out around 92-96 MPH and tops out at 97 MPH. He also has a solid curveball. Both offerings project as average. Solid offerings, but he has a strong splitter. It’s projected to be a 60-grade pitch. According to FanGraphs, one of the big deciding factors will be his command. His command projects to just a 40-grade.

Currently, they have him as a fringe starter/reliever. If he improves his command, then he could be a solid three-pitch starter. But fringe starter/reliever would make a good swingman. The right-hander has pitched out of the bullpen in 4 of his 17 outings.

DeVito has pitched well throughout his pro career so far but has only 57 career innings under his belt. He’ll likely start 2022 at Double-A and will be pushing Triple-A later in the year if he stays healthy. If he pitches well enough, we may see him in the majors late into the season. After all, it will be his 23-campaign and will turn 24 at the end of the year. DeVito definitely could be a solid arm for the Pirates long term, working out of the pen, but also working as sort of a 6th starter.