Brewers top trade chips #2: RHP Adrian Houser
Between the two non-big three options currently in the Brewers rotation, Adrian Houser might be the most likely one to get traded. The top three options, Burnes, Woodruff, and Peralta, are all right handed. So is Houser. Meanwhile, the other three options down the line, Lauer, Ashby, and Small, are all left-handed.
By moving Houser, the Brewers can balance their rotation between lefties and righties while also improving other parts of their roster. There’s a very real possibility we see Houser get moved because of this roster logjam and where the team’s remaining needs lie.
They don’t have to, though. Stearns certainly isn’t desperate to move Houser like he was with Jackie Bradley Jr.prior to the lockout.
Houser has three years of control remaining, which is incredibly valuable, and he’s an established big league starter. He posted a 3.22 ERA in 142.1 IP last year and should be a solid No. 2 or No. 3 starter in most rotations. He’s the No. 4 guy in Milwaukee only because the top three are so dang good.
Houser’s sinker is one of the best ground ball-inducing pitches in baseball right now. Houser had a staggering 59% ground ball rate in 2021. With baseball’s trend towards hitting fly balls and shooting for home runs in recent years, ground ball pitchers are extremely valuable.
While that’s also extremely valuable for the Brewers given the home run tendencies of American Family Field, other teams will value his ground ball ability as well and they’re going to be willing to pay for it.
Ashby is ready and Small is going to be ready at some point this season. While they can stick them in the bullpen in the short term, the Brewers are going to need to clear room in the rotation for them at some point. Moving Houser or Lauer makes sense and they would bring back a good return.
Houser’s value is probably not going to be higher than it is right now. Selling high on Houser is a real possibility for David Stearns.