WHITAKER BANK BALLPARK (Lexington, KY) - Three former Lexington Legends will be competing in the 2017 World Series when it starts tonight in Los Angeles. Jose Altuve (2010) and Chris Devenski (2012) are on the roster for the Houston Astros, and they will be taking on Enrique “Kiké” Hernandez (2011) and the Los Angeles Dodgers. All three were members of the Legends when the Houston Astros were the Legends parent club from 2001-2012.
Hernandez, better known by the nickname Kiké (pronounced Kee-key) is in his third season with the Dodgers and also has played for the Houston Astros and the Miami Marlins. He was drafted in the sixth round by Houston in 2009, and played for the Legends, then an Astros affiliate, in 2011.
During the National League Championship Series Game 5 against the Chicago Cubs, Hernandez became the 10th player in postseason history to hit three home runs in one postseason game, while also tying a MLB record for RBIs (7) in a postseason game.
Although the home run trifecta is extremely rare, another former Lexington Legend accomplished the incredible feat two weeks earlier, in the same postseason. Houston Astros, and former Lexington Legends second baseman, Jose Altuve hit three homers in Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox.
Small in stature (shortest active MLB player at 5 feet 6 inches), but big in character, the Astros signed Altuve before the 2007 season as an undrafted free agent, after first cutting him in a tryout the year before. With Lexington in 2010, Altuve batted .308 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs in 94 games before being promoted. The second baseman also stole 39 bases for Lexington and was a South Atlantic League mid-season and postseason All-Star. He was named to the Legends Hall of Fame in 2014.
After playing with the Legends in 2010, Altuve was promoted to the Houston Astros the next season and made his MLB debut on July 20, 2011. Since then, Altuve has arguably been one of the best players in Major League Baseball, already being selected to five All-Star Games. Altuve has won the American League batting title the past two seasons and three times in his seven seasons. He has won four consecutive Silver Slugger awards for the highest batting average for American League second basemen.
An offensive and defensive force for the Astros, Altuve has led the American League in hits for four consecutive seasons and has been among the league leaders in stolen bases, singles and many more categories since entering MLB. In 2015, he won the American League second base Golden Glove. Altuve finished the 2017 ranked 1st in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) with 8.3, 1st in WAR position players (8.3) and 1st in Offensive WAR (8.1).
This past season, Altuve was named the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award recipient, an award, first presented in 1955, that is given annually to a MLB player who best exhibits the character and integrity of Lou Gehrig, both on the field and off. Twenty-four winners of the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Acquired by the Houston Astros from the Chicago White Sox as a player to be named later, Chris Devenski joined the Legends on August 3, 2012. He had pitched against the Legends earlier that season as a member of the Kannapolis Intimidators, the White Sox affiliate in the South Atlantic League. After joining the Legends, Devenski led the South Atlantic League in strikeouts, which culminated in a historical performance in his last start as a Legends player.
Devenski etched his name into the Legends history books on September 1, 2012, recording the Legends first individual no-hitter, throwing a 16-strikeout no-hitter against the Rome Braves. Derek Stanford, Chris George and Kirk Saarloos combined for a Legends no-hitter on July 30, 2001, the Legends first season.
Devenski would spend the next few seasons working his way through the Astros organization becoming the pitcher of the year for Double-A Corpus Christi in 2015. He would be promoted to the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies for the playoffs and pitched seven one-hit innings to help Fresno win the Triple-A National Championship.
The 2016 season would see Devenski make his MLB debut on April 8, 2016 and proceeded to go 4-4 in 62 games (four starts) posting a 2.16 ERA over 108.1 innings, striking out 104 batters while pitching for the Astros. He would finish fourth in American League Rookie of the Year voting.
During 2017, Devenksi would be named to the AL All-Star team, his first recognition. Working out of the bullpen, he had an 8-5 record, pitching in 62 games posting a 2.68 ERA over 80.2 innings striking out 100 batters and saving four games for the Astros. Devenski is appearing in his first postseason.
“These three talented players made an impact on the game and the South Atlantic League during their time in Lexington” said Andy Shea, Legends President and CEO. “It’s exciting to be able to watch them transform from Single A skilled players to showcasing talent worthy of the World Series stage. We’ll be rooting for all of these guys each and every game.”