3 Red Sox players most likely to have a breakout season in 2023

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3) Why Red Sox pitcher Tanner Houck will have a breakout season

Tanner Houck has pitched really well through his first 146 innings with the Red Sox. The owner of a 9-9 record and 3.02 ERA, Houck has the makings of becoming a very important part of this ball club if you don’t already consider him one. Like Whitlock, he has floated between the rotation and bullpen. Finding some permanency in one of those spots should be a future mission of the ball club. Is 2023 the year?

Houck is a realistic candidate to make the Opening Day rotation with several injured pitchers sidelined. Shifting him to the bullpen once a guy like Whitlock returns is a possibility although it’s likely that Kutter Crawford is the first to fall out of the rotation instead.

The career numbers for Houck have been better in relief, but not by a large enough margin to put him there and call it a day. He is 4-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 20 starts. Out of the bullpen, Houck is 5-3 with a 2.68 ERA.

A breakout season for him would have to include a few more innings than we’ve seen from him in the past. The 69 from 2021 is the most he has pitched. Results similar or better than the 3.15 ERA he had last season would be another requirement.

Houck will begin this season as a starting pitcher option the team could move to the bullpen at any point. If he pitches well, Houck could move up the depth chart and become a permanent fixture. All signs point toward him achieving this.

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