The Milwaukee Brewers were not the team to draft their 13th overall prospect. Adrian Houser came from the Astros in the deal headlined by Carlos Gomez.
Injuries have derailed his path to the majors, but Houser is working his way back to form. At 25 years old, he is on the older end of prospects, but he did play for the Milwaukee Brewers in September of 2015. Houser saw nine total games pitching as high as Wisconsin in 2017.
The Brewers got a Double A player in Houser, among others, from the trade. His performance at that level after the deal is what inspired a September call-up and two big league relief appearances. Houser relies on a 60 grade fastball, coupled with a 60 grade curveball to get most of his outs. He can also flash a changeup, though it is nowhere near as good as the other two pitches.
Houser adds to the Brewers crop of big righties on the rise. He stands at 6’4″ and uses it well in order to run a fastball up to the plate that can reach as high as 97 MPH. Prior to surgery, Houser was a starter, now it will depend on what kind of pitcher is returning. The 12-to-6 action on the curveball won’t go away, and the velocity should still be there as well. That two pitch mix alone will open up the door for a potential relief role, at minimum, in the future.
In two innings in the MLB, Houser has given up a hit and walked two batters. But those are the only stats to speak of at this point. During his brief nine outing stint after returning from injury in 2017, including eight starts, his combined ERA is a couple ticks above one. He also got time in the Arizona Fall League, going almost 11 innings with a 3.38 ERA.
A huge positive to take away from his post surgery performances is his strikeout rate. Between both the regular season and Arizona Fall League, Houser has accumulated 28.1 innings and 38 strikeouts. That looks even better when coupled with his six walks in that amount of time.
How Does He Project?
The Milwaukee Brewers are going to develop him as a starter. That is what he was doing before his injury and he found success with it, so is no reason to think he should do anything else. His changeup will be the deciding factor on whether or not he succeeds in that role. The good news is the because of his two 60 grade pitches, he can fall back into the bullpen nicely.
Houser is yet another pitcher who I think will be suited better in a relief role. If he can develop his changeup a little more, it would seem that his ceiling is a mid tier starter. Using only two of his three pitches, he can be a great back end reliever. But, if the Milwaukee Brewers think they have a starter, they probably do.