There is little doubt that Red Sox fans have been amazed by the dominance of Max Scherzer. Whether it be in the regular season, or the postseason, the Cy Young candidate has performed at every turn. Fans may have nightmares of then-GM, Ben Cherington, opting not to pursue the free agent a few years ago; however, there is hope in the form of Tanner Houck.
Early on in Max Scherzer’s career, he was traded from the Diamondbacks to the Tigers due to concerns over his unusual 3/4 arm slot. In Arizona, Scherzer flashed brilliance, but was unable to sustain it, leading to the move to the Tigers.
While with Detroit, Scherzer was able to fine tune that pitching motion and began his status as one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Though the Red Sox ousted he and his Tigers in 2013, his star potential enticed the Washington Nationals to buy in to his ability as a compliment to Stephen Strasburg.
In the 2017 MLB amateur player draft, the Red Sox selected pitcher Tanner Houck in the first round. Houck, like Scherzer, went to the University of Missouri and was rated as one of the top pitchers heading into the draft.
The similarities to Scherzer don’t stop at having the same alma mater. Both pitchers pitch from that “low 3/4” delivery and have dominating fastballs which can reach into the mid to high nineties.
As seen, Max Scherzer embodies the lower slot.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjbJezIaqRk]
Below, you can see that Tanner Houck possesses a similar style.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucy8SwMVtNE]
After watching the videos, one can see that both pitchers possess a “slinging” motion of throwing from the 3/4 delivery.
Tanner Houck is a player that Red Sox fans should be excited about having in their farm system. Many teams avoided Houck due to the arm slot, but Dombrowski, who is familiar with Scherzer, couldn’t pass up a mirror to his former pitcher.
In 2015, SB Nation’s “Rock M Nation,” the Missouri affiliate, wrote that Tanner Houck will be the best Missouri professional pitcher in their history. As mentioned, this is a bold statement considering Max Scherzer is his predecessor, but his collegiate numbers supported that. Flashing superior strikeout, and BB ratio numbers, the Red Sox first round pick will be excellent.
Though Houck is probably a few years away from cracking the Boston rotation, he was a top prospect in the Draft and should be considered a future top of the rotation pitcher in the Red Sox organization.