Laurila: Red Sox prospect Tanner Houck has that sinking feeling again

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on May 9, 2019:

Tanner Houck is off to a book-ended beginning to his second full professional season. Boston’s first-round pick in the 2017 draft allowed seven runs in his first start, and in his fifth, he allowed five. In between, he authored three beauties. Pitching for the Portland Sea Dogs, the 22-year-old righty held Double-A opponents to 10 hits, and a lone marker, over 16 innings.

Houck relies heavily on a worm-killing two-seamer. It’s the pitch that wowed scouts when he was at the University of Missouri, and while it’s once again his go-to, that wasn’t the case over the first half of last season. The Red Sox had Houck put his signature pitch in his back pocket and primarily throw four-seamers against Carolina League competition. The reasoning was sound, but the results weren’t particularly pretty. A fish out of water without his sinker, Houck got hit around.

Come midseason, the Boston brain trust decided that Houck should go back to his old bread and butter. The news came as a relief. His best pitch back at the forefront of his arsenal, Houck proceeded to reestablish himself as one of the organization’s top prospects.

Houck, who takes the hill today in an 11 a.m. matinee, sat down for an in-depth discussion of his two-seamer, and what he gained from last year’s four-seam experiment, at the outset of the current campaign.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 10, 2019. Last Updated: May 10, 2019.