Boston Red Sox prospect Tanner Houck is ready for this opportunity.
The Boston Red Sox have had a very bad year when it comes to pitching. So it’s sort of surprising that they have not really given many prospects a chance to show what they can bring to the Majors. On Tuesday that is changing though, and Tanner Houck is ready for this opportunity.
Houck is the 10th ranked prospect in the Red Sox system (I had him at eighth in my rankings heading into the year). The right-handed pitcher has been in the Boston organization since 2017, when he was a first-round draft pick. And the right-hander should have everyone excited.
In case you are not familiar with Houck, here’s a little bit to know. He’s still just 24, and has a couple of really nice pitches.
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Those pitches include a two-seam fastball that sits in the mid-90s. However, last season when he was coming out of the bullpen he was reaching the high-90s with regularity. The two-seamer has a nasty sharp bite to it and he’s got pretty solid command of it.
Meanwhile, Houck also has a changeup that looks very familiar to his fastball out of the hand. However, it still needs some work and is more of a third-pitch.
Then there’s the slider though. And that slider is just absolutely nasty. This is the pitch that you’ve probably seen on Twitter a few times. Various people have posted videos gushing over this one.
Low-mid-80s with just Hilary-Banks-levels-of-stupid break on it. I promise even if Houck isn’t on in his debut, he’ll make a hitter look really bad with a slider at least once. It’s that dangerous.
In my prospect rankings, I said that Houck would make his debut in 2020. That was before all of this craziness happened though. And with the season being shortened and the MiLB season being cancelled, things got thrown out of whack.
That should show you just how special Houck is though. He brings electricity and excitement to a team that is almost devoid of it, at least on the pitching side of things.
The righty posted a 4.01 ERA over 107 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season. In that same time, he posted a .256 BAA and 1.40 WHIP – striking out 107 batters.
Sure, those numbers aren’t superb. But the main focus should be that he improved heavily as the year went on. And he actually pitched much better in Triple-A (3.24 ERA, .209 BAA, 1.32 WHIP) than he did in Double-A (4.25 ERA, .270 BAA, 1.43 WHIP).
That goes to show you that Houck won’t be over-matched. He made adjustments and it helped him dominate at a higher level.
Boston has needed a spark this season, especially when it comes to pitching. They’ve needed someone that fans can look forward to seeing step on the mound.
Houck could be that guy. He’s a young and exciting prospect with all the tools to succeed. They’ll get to enjoy the slider and get a glimpse of their future.
Even if Houck is not perfect in his debut, he’ll give you something memorable. He’s ready for this opportunity, he’s going to capitalize – and everyone should be excited. Most importantly though, he deserves it.