Mizzou Athletics

3 initial thoughts on RHP Tanner Houck, Red Sox 1st-round pick, who tops out at 98 mph

Ryan Hannable
June 12, 2017 - 9:54 pm

With the No. 24 pick in the 2017 MLB draft, the Red Sox selected right-handed pitcher Tanner Houck out of the University of Missouri.

Here are three initial thoughts on Houck.

1. The biggest thing that stands out with him is he tops out at 98 miles per hour with his fastball. He sits in the mid-90s, but has hit 98 on a few occasions. Standing 6-foot-5, Houck finished this past season 4-7 with a 3.33 ERA. He started all 14 of his games and struck out 95 batters in 94 2/3 innings. As a sophomore, he went 5-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 15 games, while striking out 106 in 105 1/3 innings. He pitched at least six innings in 37 of his 44 career starts, seven innings in 24 starts and eight innings in 13 starts. He throws with a 3/4 arm slot and has drawn comparisons to Max Scherzer.

2. His stuff tailed off towards the end of the season, which already has some suggesting the Red Sox could move him to the bullpen in order to capitalize most on his above-average fastball. There certainly is the potential for that to happen, as the organization has done that on a few occasions of late. It seems likely he will start out as a starter, but moving to the bullpen should not be counted out.

3. Houck was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 12th round of the 2014 draft, but he chose to attend college. He used the late selection as motivation all throughout college. “No matter what it did, I wanted it to be motivation, whether I signed or went to college,” Houck said, via the Kansas City Star in 2014. “I wanted it to be motivation, because I was drafted 354th. That means they thought 353 people were better than me in that year.”