MLB Rangers Draft Preview: Pitcher Tanner Houck


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The front office at Globe Life Park in Arlington is spending the weekend preparing for a busy Monday.

The reason why is because  the Rangers have two first-round picks in this year’s MLB Draft at No. 26 and No. 29.

There are a couple of pitchers that have reportedly caught the Rangers eyes as possible targets with those picks. Right-handed pitcher Nate Pearson from College of Central Florida could be the one at No. 26. Then Texas may move to the SEC and the Show-Me State for the next pick, which is also a pitcher.

University of Missouri right-hander Tanner Houck is well-known to various scouting departments. Houck was drafted in the 12th round in 2014 by the Toronto Blue Jays but chose instead to honor his scholarship to the Tigers.

A big kid at 6-foot-5, 220-pound, Houck was a 3.13 ERA with 288 strikeouts in 296 innings of three season of college ball. During his high school days, scouting reports showed the righty with an 89-92 mph fastball. That increased as he matured to around 97-98 mph with movement. There are worries that the fastball fell down to the 90-93 mph range but the belief is it’s still a plus pitch due to a sinking tendency low in the zone. Houck also has a plus slider and solid changeup and can throw both in the zone.

Durability appears to be a concern for some, which may explain the dip in fastball velocity. Houck has a sweeping delivery that can cross-up right-handed hitters but the feeling is that type of delivery may work more as a reliever than a starter, which can help solve the durability issue. He could reach the majors quicker as a reliever but will likely need for development time if used as a starter.

Houck was considered a Top 10 pick earlier this year but may be a better fit in the later rounds where the Rangers sit. The MLB Draft begins at 6 p.m. on Monday and will span over a total of three days.


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