June 29, 1996
1st round, 2017
ETA: Late 2020
Featured Video (8.2.17)
Scouting Scratch (8.4.17)
Scouting Scratch (9.14.17)
Tall, athletic pitcher’s frame, listed at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds. He 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. Unique delivery with
significant effort, but it works for him. Very quick arm. Long arm action
including elbow climb in the back and high leg kick. Comes across body and
lands on the third base side before falling back towards first. Mechanics
are very tough on right-handed hitters. Club has reportedly worked with
Houck on staying more upright, helping to direct side-to-side action
previously prevalent in his motion more towards home plate. Adjustments
have also incidentally moved arm-angle up to more of a true
three-quarters. SoxProspects Scouting Staff will report back on mechanical
adjustments after Spring Training 2018.
92-94 mph. Tops out at 97 mph. In first pro season, primarily threw
two-seam fastball regarded as among best in 2017 draft. Showed heavy sink
down in the zone at lower velocities. Four-seam flattened out when
elevated and was usually thrown in the mid-90s. Struggled to command
four-seam and didn’t miss as many bats as you’d expect given the velocity.
At the team’s request, worked with a new four-seam fastball during ’17-’18
offseason and that reportedly will now be his primary pitch. Has told
reporters it showed high spin rates and more life, topping out at 98 mph.
Team reportedly wants him to mix that in up in the zone to complement the
two-seam. Team may also have him add a cutter eventually.
Slider: 82-86 mph. 10-to-4 shape with long, sweepy break. Shape
will vary, flashing depth and bite at times and coming in more vertical
and loopier at other times. Has confidence in the pitch. Has shown a
willingness to throw it to both right- and left-handed hitters. Potential
plus offering. Especially tough on right-handed hitters as it runs down
and away from their barrels.
Changeup: 87-89 mph.
Work in progress, but already showed improvement and more feel as the 2017
season progressed. At its best, is thrown with the same arm speed as his
fastball and has late fade falling down and out of the zone, away from
left-handed hitters. Looks like a fastball he takes something off of at
times. Potential average offering.
Reportedly added a spike curveball during the '17/'18 offseason.
SoxProspects.com Scouting Staff has not seen the pitch in person and will
report on it after Spring Training 2018.
Pitched for U.S. collegiate national team for two summers at Missouri. Red
Sox development plan after drafting Houck reportedly has included an
overhaul of his arsenal and mechanics. Drafted throwing a
two-seam/slider/changeup, has added new four-seam and curve already and
may add a cutter.
Summation: Based on outings scouted in 2017,
projects as a late-inning reliever, with a chance to develop into a
mid-rotation starter if he could develop another secondary pitch to
complement his slider and refine his fastball command. Has the size and
demeanor you look for in a pitcher. Fastball and slider project as
potential plus pitches. Changeup lags behind, but has shown the potential
to miss bats against left-handed hitters, which will be vital given his
low arm slot. This projection must be hedged, however, given that the
organization is reportedly making significant changes to Houck's mechanics
and pitch arsenal; could look like a completely different pitcher from the
one drafted within a year or two.