The MLB is constantly gaining new talent every season, and some players with exceptional talent come as a surprise to fans. Tanner Houck can be one of those players this year.
The veterans of the MLB are well-known and have already made a name for themselves, but as old talent starts to move out, new talent gets the chance to make their mark. The Boston Red Sox have many talented pitchers on their roster, but they have been faced with injury often the past few seasons. This could give Tanner Houck the perfect opportunity to prove himself as a pitcher.
Houck has started the MLB preseason off strong. In a game against the Minnesota Twins, he pitched for six innings and struck out seven players. The only two runs scored during the game were from solo big flies. Houck pitched with precision which is extremely difficult to achieve. If he consistently pitches the way he has in the preseason, he will easily become a well-known player.
Will Tanner Houck have the opportunity to prove himself?
The possibility seems to be one manager Alex Cora has thought about. Houck has played with the Red Sox for the past two seasons, but he has yet to be given the right opportunity to have a breakout season. Cora seems to want Houck to pitch, but he is hesitant on jumping at the opportunity to make him a starter. The possibility doesn’t seem to be off the table, but he seems more eager to start Garrett Whitlock.
Alex Cora on expectations for Houck, via Boston Herald
"“It’s important to get outs. I think you guys make a big a bigger deal of getting the first 15 outs or the last nine outs. But in the end, 27 outs are 27 outs. Whitlock will start in the bullpen, and then you guys will see what we do with him. But he’s important regardless of his role. You still have to pass the baton. The race starts when that gun goes off, but then after that it has to be a perfect relay. If you drop it, you’re done. You get disqualified. We will have a race. We will have a relay race and hopefully we can finish it.”"
Houck has had some amazing games in his few seasons with the Red Sox, but Cora continuously seems to rely on other pitchers. One of the most remarkable games Houck has pitched with the Red Sox was in October 2021 against the Washington Nationals. He pitched five innings with eight strikeouts and no runs.
He easily could’ve had the beginning of his breakout moment that night, but Cora took him out of the game. This was likely done because Houck was a young and new player with a lot of potential, but there remains a lingering question of what could’ve happened if he had played longer.
Houck is young and healthy, and he has also proven to be consistent. If given the opportunity, he could easily be headed for a breakout MLB season.