Life is good for Tanner Houck, whom the Boston Red Sox selected 24th overall in the first round of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft.
Houck was the first college pitcher the Red Sox picked in the first round since 2012, when the club added left-hander Brian Johnson with pick No. 31. And the right-hander, who just finished his junior season at Missouri, is pretty thrilled about it.
“Super excited,” Houck said on a conference call Monday night, via WEEI.com. “Team with great history. Obviously, they’re one of the top teams in the entire league right now. They’ve been great through numerous years. I’m honored to be a Boston Red Sox and super excited to get started.”
Part of Houck’s excitement might be because of the Red Sox’s rotation, too. The 20-year-old said he looks up to St. Louis Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright and Washington Nationals starter (and Mizzou alum) Max Scherzer, but a pitcher on the Red Sox also made his list.
“Honestly, Chris Sale,” Houck said. “He’s a low arm-slot kind of guy who throws across his body kind of like I do. Watching him pitch especially with the slider and two-seam fastball, everything like that, it’s fun watching him pitch. He’s a lefty, I’m a righty, but it’s still in my mind a little bit comparable watching him throw because he does throw a different way than most people do.”
Red Sox director of amateur scouting Mike Rikard said on the conference call that the team did its due diligence with Houck and called him on Facetime before the draft to get to know him better. Rickard called Houck “a warrior on the mound” and said Boston plans to develop him as a starter even though some see his mid-90s fastball as a bullpen weapon.
Houck went 4-7 with a 3.33 ERA this past season with 95 strikeouts and a .220 opponent batting average over 14 starts.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube/Mizzou Network