Today we have a matchup between righthanders who played in the Valley League seven years apart, but both of whom are currently in pro ball, and both of whom have connections to the city of Houston.

  • This doesn’t happen much anymore, but Chris Devenski came to Woodstock the same summer he was drafted out of Cal State Fullerton. Banged by the Chicago White Sox in the 25th round in June 2011, Devenski still made the cross country trek to the ‘Stock. He pitched in eight games, six of them starts, and went 2-2, 2.50 in 39 2/3 innings, with a 1.083 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and 12.0 K/9. He didn’t have enough innings to be considered for the top starters list, but he has easily achieved more in his career than any other pitcher who came to the Valley that summer. In five seasons with the Houston Astros (after a 2012 trade with the Sox), Devenski has gone 16-16, 3.28, with a 1.057 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, and 9.7 K/9 in 307 1/3 major league innings. He won a title with the 2017 Astros, and got close in 2019, too. He’s pitched in only two games in 2020, and is currently on the IL with elbow soreness.
  • Fred Villarreal showed up in Waynesboro in 2018 after his sophomore year at Houston. In six games and 27 innings, he went 1-2, 2.66, with an even 1.000 WHIP, 1.7 BB/9, and 11.3 K/9 (he walked five and struck out 34, finishing 3rd in the league in both categories). ATVL named him the 4th best starter in the league. Returning to Houston for his junior year, Villarreal became the team’s closer, and went 5-4, 2.29, with 10 saves in 59 innings. Seattle drafted him that summer in the 25th round, and he spent most of his pro debut last summer at Everett in the Northwest League.

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And by the way, if you want to read a ton about either the 2015 or 2019 VBL season, be sure to check out this post on the 2019 Valley League Annual.

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