Deep League Prospect Sleeper: Why Adrian Houser Belongs On Your Radar Immediately

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The Milwaukee Brewers always appear to be on the hunt for help in the starting rotation, as they try to battle for a World Series title.  Entering play on Sunday 60% of their rotation held an ERA of 6.00 or higher, so they once again are on the lookout for reinforcements.  A returning Jimmy Nelson could fill one of the holes, but could an under-the-radar prospect also get a shot?

Adrian Houser, a former second round selection of the Houston Astros, he fot some work in the Majors last season (7 relief appearances) but is back to starting at Triple-A and has made some waves.  Just look at the production over his first few starts:

  • Strikeouts – 9.82 K/9
  • Control – 0.82 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 56.5%

He added to those numbers yesterday, allowing 2 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 5.1 innings. That checks off all of the boxes, and with a minor league career 1.77 GO/AO that’s the least of our worries.  The real question is whether or not he has the stuff to maintain these types of strikeout and walk rates, considering minor league career marks of 8.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.

Is it impossible that he’s finally figured out how to pair swing and miss potential with the ability to generate groundballs?  His 15.0% SwStr% (entering yesterday) indicates he has, and in their preseason scouting report MLB.com noted the following:

Houser showed a more pitch-to-contact approach in 2018, employing a higher arm slot that led to an increase in ground balls but also a dropoff in whiffs and strikeouts.

That gives a sense of hope, and while he’s not going to continue with this type of control even a step back into the 2.50-3.00 range isn’t going to dramatically alter the outlook.  With the sudden ability to generate swings and misses coupled with a potentially elite groundball rate, the upside is there to thrive in Milwaukee.

Already on the 40-man roster, is it hard to envision an opportunity coming over someone like Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes or Freddy Peralta?  It shouldn’t be, and this type of makeup would have it appear like he could make an impact in short order.

Those in dynasty formats would be wise to grab him now and see if you can catch lightning in a bottle.  He may not carry ace-like potential, but the skills appear promising and he’s likely not yet on anyone else’s radar. Now is the time to stash him and see if he can hit the ground running.

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

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