Chris DeVito is a strong human being. This is evidenced by his multiple nicknames, the “Girth Quake” and “Red Hercules.” It can also be shown by the number of baseballs he sends beyond the fence. Oh, by the way, his favorite athlete is Bo Jackson.
Chris DeVito has always had power. After attending the same high school as Mike Moustakas, Chatsworth HS in Southern California (where he raked), DeVito went on to the University of New Mexico, where all he did was hit.
He really busted onto the scene his junior year of college, where he hit .375/.444/.685. His stock wasn’t that high as an MLB Draft prospect though. There were questions on his defensive skills and the possibility that his numbers were inflated due to the park he played in having a high park factor of 151. Nonetheless, the Royals grabbed him with the 253rd overall pick in the draft.
After signing him, the Royals sent DeVito to the Rookie League Burlington Royals, where he hit very well. DeVito showed a combination of plate discipline (7th best K/BB ratio in Appalachian League) and power (9th best ISO). It was a very successful first season of pro ball for the Red Hercules.
But guess what… somehow, there is more power this year! After posting a nice slugging percentage of .445 last year, DeVito is slugging 588 (!) this year. It’s tough to say how this has come about too. DeVito’s batted ball profiles tell us nothing, as it looks similar from last year. One thing that has caught my eye is his change in plate discipline.
DeVito had a large Swinging Strike % last year at 25.8%. This year it’s just above 13%. He obviously has been more patient. He’s been more selective. His K% and BB% don’t show it, as they’ve declined massively this year, but I would expect those to improve with time.
So in short, DeVito has been able to choose his pitches more wisely and drive the ones he can.
DeVito is never going to be a guy that hits for high average. He did hit .347 in Lexington before his promotion to Wilmington, but that was fueled by a .383 BABIP. The power is for real though. Like I said above, I expect DeVito’s K and BB numbers to improve later on, and if they do, the Royals have a legit prospect.
Photo Credits: Brad Glazier
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