The 2023 season could be a make or break one for Pirate pitching prospect Ricky DeVito
At Major League Baseball's 2021 trade deadline, the Pittsburgh Pirates sent relief pitcher Richard Rodríguez to the Atlanta Braves. In exchange for Rodrgíguez, the Pirates received a pair of right-handed pitchers in Bryse Wilson and Ricky DeVito.
Thus far, this trade is looking like one that could be a loss for both sides. Rodríguez pitched so poorly with the Braves that he was left off the team's postseason roster in 2021, before being non-tendered by the club ahead of receiving an 80-game steroid suspension.
As for the Pirate end, Wilson struggled with the club before being desiganted for assignment in late December. Early in January, Wilson was then traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for cash considerations.
This leaves DeVito as the lone chance for this trade to work out for the Pirates. Last season, DeVito pitched 70.0 innings in 35 games, six starts, with the High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers. He posted a 5.40 ERA, 4.69 FIP, 13.5% walk rate, and a 27.7% strikeout rate with the Grasshoppers.
This was DeVito's first taste of action in the Pirate minor league system. Following his trade to the Pirates in 2021, DeVito did not pitch due to injury. He only pitched for Atlanta's High-A affiliate in 2021.
Looking ahead to 2023 there is a good chance that DeVito moves to a full-time bullpen role. This could be with High-A Greensboro or Double-A Altoona. Either way, it will be a make or break season for DeVito.
DeVito will need to bounce back in 2023. Without that, he will begin to teeter on non-prospect status. DeVito coudl still have a future as a relief pitch with the Pirates, but he will need to have a strong season in 2023.