Tanner Houck Boston Red Sox Pitcher

       
 
Age: 24
Born: June 29, 1996
Birthplace: Collinsville, IL
Height: 6-5
Weight: 220
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
   
Drafted: 1st round, 2017 by BOS
How Acquired: Draft
College: Missouri
High School: Collinsville (IL)
ETA: Late 2020

Photo © Kelly O'Connor
Tanner Houck photos by Kelly O'Connor
Pronunciation: Howk
First Pro Contract: June 21, 2017 (BOS)
Signing Scout: Todd Gold
Signing Bonus: $2,614,500
Rule 5 Draft Eligible: N/A
MLFA Eligible: N/A
   
Pro Debut: July 17, 2017 (Lowell)
Added to 40-man: September 15, 2020 (BOS)
MLB Debut: September 15, 2020 (BOS)
Service Time (1/20): 0 days
Options Remaining: 3 (0 used)
Contract (2020): League Minimum
   
Twitter: @houck_tanner
Instagram: @tanner_houck

 
 
 
 
 
     
  Scouting Report & Links      
         
  Physical Description: Tall, athletic pitcher's frame. Type of frame you look for in a pitcher. High waist, long limbs. Minimal remaining projection.

Mechanics: Throws from a low three-quarters arm slot. Utilizes a full wind up. Starts on the first base side of the rubber. Long arm action including elbow climb in the back and high leg kick. Cross-fire delivery is very tough on right-handed hitters. Gets good extension to the plate. Very quick arm. Unique delivery with a lot of effort, but it works for him. Has worked on staying squarer to the plate with very obvious improvements. Does struggle to repeat his delivery as he works deeper into games.

Fastball: 93-95 mph. Tops out at 98 mph. In college, he worked almost exclusively off a two-seam fastball regarded as among the best in the 2017 draft. In 2018, the organization attempted to work with Houck to instead rely primarily on a four-seam fastball, based in part on Trackman data, but he struggled in the first half of the year and returned midseason to primarily throwing the two-seam while mixing in the four-seam more often. Two-seam shows arm-side run and heavy sink down in the zone. Four-seam is routinely in the 95-97 mph range, but the pitch is straight and gets hit hard when in the zone. Below-average fastball command profile. Potential above-average pitch. May add a cutter eventually.

Slider: 82-85 mph. Has returned to throwing the sweepy, frisbee-like 10-to-4 slider he used in college and after being drafted. Tried out a spike curveball grip during the first half of the 2018 season, but because of his arm angle, the pitch wasn't a good fit. Has shown great confidence in his slider, willing to throw it to both right- and left-handed hitters. Can locate in and out of the zone. Has bat-missing potential. Pitch is very tough on right-handed hitters. Potential plus offering.

Splitter: 87-88 mph. Started throwing in 2020. Pitch shows late, downward action and has missed bats when he buries it down in the zone, although it has yet to be tested in true game action. Has shown the ability to pull the string on it, but is still inconsistent with his feel for the pitch. Development of the pitch as an option to get out left-handed hitters will be key to him reaching his ceiling.

Changeup: 86-88 mph. Scrapped the pitch in favor of the splitter in 2020. Pitch was very inconsistent and he tinkered with the grip as a professional. Switched to using a circle grip in 2019. Pitch flashed drop and deceptive arm speed, but he had trouble turning the pitch over and it often it was firm and straight. Was a potential fringe-average offering with significant refinement.
  Career Notes: Drafted by Toronto out of high school but did not sign. Pitched for Team USA collegiate national team in 2015 and 2016. After signing, inspired by his adopted sister (as well as his father and stepfather, who were both adopted), created Tanner Houck’s Pitch for Adoption, an organization through which he donates money to charitable causes for each strikeout. The Red Sox development plan after drafting Houck included an overhaul of his arsenal and mechanics 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. Missed last few weeks of 2018 season with chest/back/spine/ribcage inflammation. Participated in 2018 Fall Instructional League. Moved to the bullpen in July 2019 shortly before promotion to Triple-A, and appeared primed for a potential MLB call-up down the stretch if Boston had remained in the playoff race. Moved back into the rotation in the Arizona Fall League and has continued to pitch as a starter since. Pitched for Team USA in the 2019 Premier12 Tournament.

Summation: Potential late-inning reliever, with a chance to develop into a back-end starter if his splitter develops to complement his slider and he refines his fastball command. Could also succeed in a multi-inning relief role. Will likely struggle to turn over a lineup of major league-quality hitters with his current pitch mix and mechanics. Arm slot and fastball-slider combination make him extremely difficult on right-handers, but his low arm slot and lack of a third pitch give him trouble against lefties. Splitter is a new addition to his arsenal, but it has shown potential against left-handed hitters, which will be vital to chances stick in the starting rotation. Has the size and demeanor you look for in a pitcher; able to bear down when necessary.

Links
Featured Video (8.2.17)
Scouting Scratch (8.4.17)
Scouting Scratch (9.14.17)
State of the System: Mid-Minors Pitchers (4.3.20)
Scouting Report Update (6.1.2020)
Video from Pawtucket (9.1.2020)
Scouting Report Update (9.11.2020)
 
   
     
    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
  2015 Team USA --- --- --- 19 1 1 0.500 2.16 4 3 0 16.2 13 5 4 2 1 14 0.84 14.00 7.56
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
  2016 Team USA --- --- --- 20 0 1 0.000 2.66 6 6 0 23.2 17 7 7 2 5 8 0.93 1.60 3.04
  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
  2019 Portland East AA Bos 23 8 6 0.571 4.25 17 15 0 82.2 86 41 39 4 32 80 1.43 2.50 8.71
  2019 Pawtucket IL AAA Bos 23 0 0 --- 3.24 16 2 1 25.0 19 11 9 3 14 27 1.32 1.93 9.72
  2019 Peoria AFL Fall Bos 23 3 2 0.600 3.47 6 6 0 23.1 20 9 9 2 12 26 1.37 2.17 10.03
  2019 Team USA --- --- --- 23 0 2 0.000 3.86 2 2 0 9.1 7 5 4 0 2 11 0.96 5.50 10.61
   
     
    2020 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
2020 Boston AL MLB Bos 24     stats                            
   
     
  Advanced Stats & Splits
   
     
  Awards   SoxProspects.com Awards  
  2017 Perfect Game Pre-Season All-American
2019 Eastern League All-Star
  2018 SoxProspects.com Pre-Season All-Star
SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Week (July 23-29, 2018)
2019 SoxProspects.com Pre-Season All-Star
SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Week (April 21-27, 2019)
 
   

   
     
     
     
 
Copyright © 2003-2020 SoxProspects, LLC
All Rights Reserved.
email: info@soxprospects.com
SoxProspects.com is in no way affiliated with the Boston Red Sox, Pawtucket Red Sox, Portland Sea Dogs, Salem Red Sox, Greenville Drive, Lowell Spinners, GCL Red Sox, Major League Baseball, or Minor League Baseball..