PEARL, Miss. — Former Tusculum pitcher Devan Watts has been promoted to the Mississippi Braves, the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. He is scheduled to join the Braves for their five-game series at the Biloxi Shuckers to open the second half of the Southern League season.
Watts, who started the 2017 campaign with the Florida Fire Frogs, has posted some impressive numbers in his 19 appearances with the Braves’ Advanced-A affiliate. He led the Fire Frogs with four saves and collected 34 strikeouts against just seven walks in his 26.2 innings of relief. He had a 1-0 record and posted a 2.03 earned run average to go along with a WHIP of 1.09. For his efforts, he earned a spot on the Florida League All-Star Team.
Watts was selected by the Braves in the 17th round of the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
He made his professional debut last summer with Danville, the Braves’ Rookie-League Affiliate. He only made four appearances with the Appalachian League squad before being moved up to the organization’s Single-A affiliate in Rome (Ga.). He became the team’s closer as he posted a 3-1 record with eight saves and a 0.92 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP, and helped lead Rome to a league championship.
He worked out with the parent club during spring training and was activated on the Atlanta roster on March 18th, though he did not make an appearance.
In Watts’ two seasons at Tusculum (2015-2016), the NCAA Division II All-Region and All-South Atlantic Conference choice recorded 14 saves and posted a 6-7 record in 99.2 innings of work in his 43 relief appearances. He accounted for a 2.98 career earned run average with 121 strikeouts and 25 walks. His 14 saves are the fourth most in Tusculum history.
In 2016, the Mooresville, North Carolina native accounted for six saves (T7th in TC history) and a 3.10 ERA in his 20 relief outings. He tossed 49.1 innings with 62 strikeouts and tallied a 2-4 worksheet. He earned a spot on the SAC All-Tournament Team in April. Watts came through with two victories in two appearances during the SAC Tournament, including the win in Tusculum’s 6-5 rain-shortened victory over Catawba resulting in co-champions being named. Watts threw 8.1 innings in his two appearances, allowing seven hits while striking out five.
Watts helped the Pioneers advance to the 2016 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional as TC claimed third place honors. He pitched four shutout innings in his two relief appearances in the NCAA Tournament. He struck out four in 2.2 innings of work in the opener against 19th-ranked USC Aiken. He retired all four batters he would face in a save in Tusculum’s 3-2 win over Mount Olive.
In 2015, he led the SAC with eight saves (31st in NCAA II), finished his inaugural TC campaign with a 1.79 ERA and led the Pioneers with his 23 relief appearances and finished with a 4-3 record in his 50.1 innings on the mound. He did not allow an earned run in his first 25 innings, covering a span of almost 10 games. He pitched 8.2 shutout innings of relief in Tusculum’s 13-inning win over Carson-Newman and for his efforts, was named the SAC Pitcher of the Week and Tennessee Sports Writers Association College Pitcher of the Week.
Watts completed his degree and graduated from Tusculum with honors this past spring. He was a member of the SAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll, Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, Dean’s List and Charles Oliver Gray Honors List.