Red Sox Prospect Watch: Tanner Houck now in Triple-A bullpen
By Hunter Noll
Triple-A (Pawtucket Red Sox)
The Boston Red Sox are being proactive about their bullpen problems by looking to the minors. They’re in the process of switching a few starting prospects to relievers for the time being to see if they can find a fix.
One of those options is Tanner Houck. The righty’s first relief appearance didn’t go well. In Double-A, he allowed six earned runs in 1/3 of an inning. However, he bounced back nicely. The next time out he threw one scoreless inning. That was enough for the Red Sox, as they moved him to Triple-A. In Houck’s first appearance with Pawtucket, he threw another scoreless inning. If he looks strong for a few outings his MLB debut could be looming.
What’s incredible is how much this has accelerated his debut projections. If you would’ve asked me a few weeks ago, I would’ve been certain 2019 was out. Now it seems a given that he’ll make his debut this year.
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Darwinzon Hernandez has already made his Major League debut this year. Now he’s working as a reliever in the minors though – hoping to help out of the bullpen. Hernandez has made four straight relief appearances. In that time, he’s thrown 4 1/3 innings and given up one run. The lefty has six strikeouts compared to just one walk, and could definitely be electric out of the bullpen.
Mike Shawaryn is working out of the bullpen now too. I don’t like it. I said it when the Red Sox called him up and I stick by it. This guy is built to be a starter. He’s struggled out of the bullpen and his ERA has sky-rocketed to 4.26. Time to go back to the starting rotation.
Trevor Kelley has a 1.27 ERA. I’m not going to say anything else about him. Give him a real shot in the Majors, please.
Bobby Poyner might deserve another look too. The lefty has looked phenomenal lately, and his ERA is down to 3.08. He’s been miserable in the Majors this year but has gotten sporadic chances. Last year he was great in a more controlled role.
Kyle Hart is down to a 3.18 ERA in Triple-A after not allowing an earned run over six innings in his last start. He’s been fantastic all year and really his entire career has looked great. The 26-year-old could make his debut this year – especially with Boston searching for answers at pitcher.
Teddy Stankiewicz has a 4.12 ERA after an “eh” start, giving up three earned runs in five innings this week. The right-hander has definitely been more consistent this year though, which is the exact growth I wanted to see from him.
DLG is back baby! Chad De La Guerra returned from the IL and went 1-for-4 in his return. The infielder is hitting .322 on the year and is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak. I honestly believe he could be the next man up if Boston needs middle infield help. He definitely deserves it.
Chris Owings could be in his way though. The 27-year-old was brought to the team not too long ago and honestly, a lot of fans seemed weirdly upset about it. Quite a few people on twitter were complaining that Boston signed this utility guy with miserable numbers in 2019 instead of a reliever. You know, because every team only gets one signing apparently.
Owings has looked great in Triple-A though. He’s hitting .305 with five doubles and three homers so far. In 22 games he has 12 RBI and 11 runs scored, as well as four steals. Owings has had some very solid MLB seasons so he could end up being sneaky good depth.
Josh Ockimey is back up over the .200-mark after slipping under it for a minute. He’s hitting .205 but does have a .351 OBP thanks to 56 walks. The 23-year-old has 13 doubles and two triples on the year. He’s also already just three away from tying his career-high in homer as he has 17 this season. Take the good with the bad.