Adrian Houser was granted a fourth option for the 2019 season on Thursday, but he was also singled out as a potential break out candidate by ESPN’s Keith Law. Will he spend more time in Triple-A, or could he cement himself as a key member of the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen?
Adrian Houser will have an extra option for the 2019 season. This means that he can be ‘optioned’ back to the Minor Leagues without having to clear waivers. It also means that he’s going to spend the 2019 season with the Milwaukee Brewers organization. But could he end up destined for more this year?
What is an option and why did Houser get an extra?
Every player on the 40-man roster is given three option years. This means that they can go from the Major League roster to the Minors without being exposed to waivers, and is especially important for players on the roster bubble or at the beginning of their career. However, every year a player spends more than 20 days in the Minor Leagues, they lose an option.
Players who lose an option due to injury or players who use three options in fewer than five seasons, can get a fourth option. Houser has already lost his three options, but will get one more.
Why is Houser listed as a breakout candidate?
ESPN’s senior writer, Keith Law, released his breakdown of the top 15 prospects of each team in the NL Central (subscription only).
Houser came in at ninth overall, and earned praise from Law as a potential breakout candidate for the Milwaukee Brewers. Law even mentioned that Houser could follow in the footsteps of names like Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes.
Houser has the stuff to stick as a relief option, but there could be more upside than he’s lead everyone to believe.
What do the numbers say?
Houser split his time in 2018 between Milwaukee, Colorado Springs, and Biloxi. With the Brewers, Houser appeared in seven games and posted a 3.29 ERA. He struck out eight, but walked seven.
In Triple-A, Houser made 13 starts, and ended up with a 5.19 ERA. He struck out 37, walked 19, and was tagged for six homers in 52 innings.
In Double-A, Houser made eight starts, and posted a 4.73 ERA. He fanned 30, walked seven, and gave up three homers in 26 2/3 innings.
Houser possesses a solid fastball, an above average change up, and a serviceable curveball. It’s clear that he still needs to develop his command, but there could be more than meets the eye with Houser. He’s virtually guaranteed to stay with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019, as the fourth option year allows the team greater roster flexibility. They can call up Houser for a day or two if the bullpen gets taxed, and then send him back to the Minors without losing him. Law is known to only write what he believes in. If he didn’t believe in Houser, or really think that he can break out, he wouldn’t have written the profile they way he wrote it. 2019 is already poised to be an interesting year for Houser.