Red Sox News: Tanner Houck pitching in to support adoption

Tanner Houck is pitching in support of charity in his Red Sox debut.

Tanner Houck‘s dreams are about to come true as he prepares for his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox. Now he aims to use his new platform as a big league pitcher to make the dreams of others come true.

The 24-year-old announced ahead of his debut on Tuesday that he will be donating $100 toward his Pitch for Adoption campaign for every strikeout he records in his start against the Miami Marlins.

The fundraising efforts will go to Caritas Family Solutions with the money being used to support the children at St. John Bosco Children’s Center near his hometown in Illinois. Houck explains that he has been a strong supporter of adoption since the process led to his little sister joining his family while he was in high school. Houck called the benefits of adoption “life-changing” and wants to help provide that opportunity to deserving children and hopeful parents.

You can help Houck support adoption by making a donation on his Pledge page.

MLB.com ranks Houck No. 10 in the Red Sox farm system and their fifth-best pitching prospect. He went 8-6 with a 4.01 ERA in 33 appearances (17 starts) split between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket last season. He pitched mostly out of the bullpen in Pawtucket in an effort to prepare him for a potential late-season relief role in Boston but that opportunity never came.

Houck worked his way back into the rotation in camp and has been ramping up at the alternate site in Pawtucket this summer. He’s now finally ready to make his first major league start for a Red Sox club desperate for arms to fill their struggling rotation.

Red Sox starting pitchers own a collective 6.18 ERA this season. Only the Detroit Tigers (6.70) have been worse. Houck is unproven at this level but it’s hard to imagine he’s any worse than most of the underwhelming options they have been cycling through.

Houck certainly has more upside than the bargain-bin starters the Red Sox have taken for a test run this year. He commands a mid-90s two-seam fastball with solid movement and throws a nasty slider that could develop into an excellent out pitch.

His minor league track record suggests that Houck won’t be an elite strikeout artist but he punched out nearly a batter per inning in three seasons. His 9.7 K/9 in Pawtucket was encouraging, although keep in mind that was mostly as as reliever.

We’ll certainly be rooting for Houck to rack up the strikeouts tonight since every K helps support a child in need. The Marlins are a great team to target for strikeouts with a 25.0 K% that ranks as the fifth-highest in the majors.

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Hopefully, Houck impresses in his debut so he can stay in the game long enough to take advantage of the free-swinging Marlins lineup and pile up the donations for a worthy cause.