We have another mock draft on the record, this time coming from Baseball America. This is their third mock draft, and just like John Sickel’s yesterday they foresee the Red Sox taking a college arm. Instead of LSU’s Alex Lange, though, BA projects Boston to select Tanner Houck out of the University of Missouri.
The righty is Missouri’s Friday Night starter, which means that he is their staff ace. Houck has a prototypical starter’s build, standing at 6’5” and 220 pounds. He uses that size to show off big stuff, although it hasn’t always shown up this spring. When he’s at his best, he can throw his fastball in the low-to-mid 90’s. While the velocity isn’t elite, the pitch has been handed near-elite grades in the past thanks to deadly sink that can be particularly tough on right-handed hitters. To go along with the sinking fastball, Houck features an average slider and a changeup that is still relatively new to his repertoire.
The big question for Houck is whether or not he can stick as a starter. Obviously, he has the stature to hold up over a full season but he also features an unconventional delivery in which he throws from a low slot and his front foot falls off towards third base after throwing the pitch. He’ll also need his changeup to develop if he wants to be a starter. Whoever does draft him could likely stick him right in the bullpen if they wanted to and Houck would be able to move quickly. However, with a few tweaks staying in the rotation seems possible and he has the upside to be a low-end number two or high-end number three starter at the highest level.
Houck has tossed 90 innings over 13 starts for Missouri this season, pitching to a 2.89 ERA with 91 strikeouts and 21 walks. You can see video on the righty here.
Would you be happy with this selection?