Tanner Houck Cy Young? Red Sox Pitcher’s Breakout On Notice

Boston hasn't had a Cy Young winner since Rick Porcello in 2016


May 30, 2024

Chief baseball officer Craig Breslow wanted to revamp the Red Sox pitching staff, and Tanner Houck has been the face of that revolution.

Boston brought on pitching coach Andrew Bailey to rework the approach of the entire staff. Bailey has worked with everyone individually to figure out their goals, but the main approach has been prioritizing off-speed pitches and utilizing the fastball as a knockout punch.

Houck arguably benefitted the most from this new approach. The 27-year-old is putting up career numbers and has been on point with his slider, which he’s used at a 41.8% clip in 11 starts. His fastball usage is down to 31%, and his use of his splitter is up to 23.5%.

That pitching mix helped him record a Maddux, a 1.90 ERA and a 2.13 FIP. Houck not only is in the All-Star conversation, but he’s also in the American League Cy Young discussion.

The right-hander is tied for the third-shortest odds on FanDuel to win the award at 13-1 with Seattle Mariners pitcher Luis Castillo and Kansas City Royals pitcher Cole Ragans. Detroit Tigers ace Tarik Skubal is the favorite at +190, and Baltimore Orioles star Corbin Burnes is behind him at +470.

“Only 11 starts deep,” Houck said Wednesday on being in the Cy Young discussion, per MassLive’s Christopher Smith. “So not even on the radar. Take it day by day. Keep getting better each day. Have a quality game of catch and then show back up the next day and do it all again. And just try to repeat that as many times as you can.”

Houck leads all MLB pitchers with a 2.5 fWAR, so if he keeps up his form, he’ll remain a contender to be the first Red Sox pitcher to win Cy Young since Rick Porcello in 2016.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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