What to Expect from Tanner Houck in 2022by Jamie Gatlin December 21, 2021 1 comment
Over the last few years, Tanner Houck has been key to the Boston Red Sox’s success. The former first-round pick made his MLB debut two years ago and has excelled regardless of the role. As the Red Sox shocked the baseball world in 2021, Houck pitched out of the bullpen and rotation. While baseball is currently in a lockout, the future is bright for Houck in Boston. Through 21 appearances in the majors, Houck has posted a 2.93 ERA. The former first-round pick has only allowed five home runs and showed better control in 2021. While he is still developing a third pitch, Houck continued to excel the first two times through the order. As the right-hander prepares for his third MLB season, he will be looking to prove that he belongs in the rotation.
Although Houck made 13 starts in 2021, he only pitched more than four innings five times. In the third time through the order, he posted a 27 ERA, and opponents hit .476 against him. For the Missouri product to stick in the rotation will need to improve on that mark. His versatility, however, continued to be an asset, as in ten innings as a reliever, he posted a 2.61 ERA.
While Houck continued to make adjustments, he improved his control. In his second MLB stint, he had the lowest walk rate of his career at any level. It was a welcoming sign for Boston, as the St. Louis native incorporated a splitter into his pitch mix. He was also using his slider more, which became a strength. After only using that pitch three percent of the time in 2020, opponents only hit .159 against it in 2021.
Tanner Houck is a finalist for the PitchingNinja Filthiest Slider of the Year Award. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/FlMOIsIVwI
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 16, 2021
What to expect from Houck when baseball resumes
With the departure of Eduardo Rodriguez, the Red Sox have an opening to fill in the rotation. That spot could go to Houck, but he will also have competition in veterans Michael Wacha and Rich Hill. For the 2017 draftee, control and expanding his pitch arsenal will be critical. That has been his kryptonite so far in his career.
Regardless of where Houck starts next season, he will play a key role. In 2021 he held opponents to a .223 average and threw five scoreless innings in his last start of the season. While the Red Sox have struggled to develop pitching in recent years, Houck has been the exception. He has proven that he can succeed in the majors and is just getting started.
Follow Jamie Gatlin On Twitter @JamieGatlin17
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images