Tanner Houck Salem Red Sox  |  Pitcher


Age: 22
Born: June 29, 1996
Collinsville, IL
Height: 6-5
Weight: 220
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 1st round, 2017
How Acquired: Draft
College: Missouri
High School: Collinsville (IL)
ETA: Late 2020

Photo © Kelly O'Connor

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Physical Description: Tall, athletic pitcher’s frame. Has some projection left and should add strength as he matures.

Mechanics: Throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, starting on the first base side of the rubber. Steps toward third base and finishes with back leg continuing in that direction. Used to step even more towards third and then swing back leg around toward first base, coming across his body with a lot of east-west movement, but has worked on staying squarer to the plate with very obvious improvements. Very quick arm. Long arm action including elbow climb in the back and high leg kick. Mechanics are very tough on right-handed hitters. Unique delivery (which used to be even moreso) with a lot of effort, but it works for him.

Fastball: 92-94 mph. Tops out at 97 mph. In college, worked almost exclusively off a two-seam fastball regarded as among the best in the 2017 draft. At beginning of 2018, organization worked with Houck on instead relying primarily on a four-seam fastball, based in part on Trackman data on the pitch. After struggling in the first half of the year, returned to primarily throwing the two-seam while mixing in the four-seam more than he once had. Two-seam shows arm-side run and heavy sink down in the zone. Houck does not command the four-seam as well. In Spring Training 2018, threw the four-seam routinely in the 95-97 mph range, but as with earlier looks, the pitch was straight and was hit hard when in the zone. Better as a pitch to mix in and change the batter’s eye level on occasion. Now throws the pitch at about the same velocity as the two-seam. Potential plus pitch. May add a cutter eventually.

Breaking Ball: 82-84 mph. Shows sharp, 11-to-5 break. Threw a sweepy, 10-to-4 slider in college and after being drafted. Now throws with a spike curveball grip, but arm angle and pitch speed make it seem more slider-esque. Very confident in the pitch, willing to throw it to right- and left-handed hitters. Potential plus offering.

Changeup: 87-89 mph. Work in progress, has changed his grip on the pitch as a professional. Still a work in progress. Clear third pitch.

Career Notes: Pitched for U.S. collegiate national team for two summers at Missouri. Perhaps a poster child for the Trackman era, the Red Sox development plan after drafting Houck has included an overhaul of his arsenal and mechanics despite his being a first-round pick in an effort to increase his chances of staying in the rotation. Experimented with primarily throwing a four-seam fastball in early 2018 that he now will mix in with the two-seam and has changed grips on his breaking ball and changeup. Participated in 2018 Fall Instructional League.

Summation: Projects as a late-inning reliever, with a chance to develop into a mid-rotation starter if he can develop another secondary pitch to complement his breaking ball and refine his fastball command. Has the size and demeanor you look for in a pitcher; able to bear down when necessary. Fastball and slider project as potential plus pitches. Changeup lags behind, but has shown potential against left-handed hitters, which will be vital given his low arm slot.

  Pitching Stats                                          
  year team lg level org age w l % era g gs sv ip h r er hr bb so whip k/bb k/9
  2015 Missouri NCAA Coll --- 19 8 5 0.615 3.49 15 15 0 100.2 88 40 39 8 12 91 0.99 7.58 8.14
  2016 Missouri NCAA Coll --- 20 5 6 0.455 2.99 15 15 0 105.1 82 46 35 6 27 106 1.03 3.93 9.06
  2017 Missouri NCAA Coll --- 21 4 7 0.364 3.33 14 14 0 94.2 78 45 35 5 24 95 1.08 3.96 9.03
  2017 Lowell NYPL A- Bos 21 0 3 0.000 3.63 10 10 0 22.1 21 14 9 0 8 25 1.30 3.13 10.07
  2018 Salem Car A+ Bos 22 7 11 0.389 4.24 23 23 0 119.0 110 68 56 11 60 111 1.43 1.85 8.39
  Additional Player Info  
  Pronunciation: Howck
First Pro Contract:
June 21, 2017 by Todd Gold (BOS)
Signing Bonus: $2,614,500
MiLB Debut: July 17, 2017 (Lowell)
MLFA Eligible: November 2023
Rule 5 Draft Eligible: December 2020
Added to 40-man: -
MLB Debut:
MLB Service Time (through 2018):
Options Remaining
: 3 (0 used)
Contract (2019): MiLB Contract
Trade Restrictions
: -
2017 Perfect Game Pre-Season All-American
SoxProspects.com Awards
2018 SoxProspects.com Pre-Season All-Star
SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Week (July 23-29, 2018)






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