Tanner Houck will be competing for a spot in the Boston Red Sox rotation during spring training after an impressive 2021 campaign as a swing-man.
His chances of making the rotation increased massively when it was announced that Chris Sale will not be ready to go by Opening Day. Naturally, the pressure of stepping up in the absence of a player of Sale’s caliber increased as well.
The good news is that Tanner Houck has a real solid mentor to take advice from.
“Houck spent the offseason at Cressey Sports Performance in Florida, training with several decorated big leaguers, including three-time Cy Young winner and fellow Mizzou alum Max Scherzer,” Speier wrote.
Houck called out Scherzer specifically in speaking to Speier.
“I’m truly thankful for how he kind of took me under his wing this offseason,” Houck told Speier.
Scherzer is a perfect mentor for Houck for many reasons, the most obvious being the right-handers share a similar arm slot. They also both feature elite sliders, and Scherzer was likely involved in developing a third pitch for Houck, an area that he has been lacking.
Their similar arm slot means that Sherzer’s grips and delivery of his other pitches should translate to Houck, assuming Scherzer was willing to give up that information.
The last part of the game that Scherzer would be a great mentor for is the mental aspect. Both players are fiery on the mound with an intimidating presence.
Between his natural competitiveness, and having a pair of mentors that include Sale and Scherzer, you can bet Houck will bring a certain level of intensity to his appearances.