The Detroit Tigers have a lot of prospects approaching big league ready. This is a series about those prospects, and when we think they will debut.
Detroit Tigers fans know that rebuilding isn’t easy. This team is not very good right now, and it may be a few years until they are back challenging for the playoffs and the World Series.
However, the most exciting part about rebuilding teams is getting to see prospects make their big league debuts, and watching them (hopefully) grow into star players.
The Tigers have a lot of high-profile prospects, although most of them (Matt Manning, Casey Mize, Daz Cameron) are a few years away from reaching the big leagues. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be some fun prospect debuts in 2019 though.
We here at Motor City Bengals are going to evaluate prospects who are on the verge of reaching the big leagues. We will take a look at how they performed in 2018, when we think they’ll reach the show, and of course how we think they’ll help the club.
Houston burst onto the scene for the Tigers in 2018, rocketing through Double-A and up to Toledo. He finished the season with a stunning 80 strikeouts in just 55.1 innings, good for a 13.0 K/9. That came along with a 1.63 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP, split between Erie and Toledo.
At six-foot-five and 250 pounds, Houston is an imposing presence on the mound. What makes him surprising is that his fastball isn’t the triple-digit monster than one would expect from a huge right-hander with electric strikeout numbers. Houston’s heater sits anywhere from 92-96, with a decent but not yet elite breaking ball. He relies primarily on deception, and of course his size.
All this points to some potential trouble in the big leagues, where the hitters are not as easily fooled. Of course, it’s entirely possible Houston could get that fastball to sit closer to 96, or even higher, which would help him stick in the late innings.
Houston has only thrown 17 innings at Double-A and 38 in Triple-A, so I’d be surprised to see him begin 2019 in Detroit’s bullpen. However, injuries and ineffectiveness are staples of Detroit’s franchise-long bullpen woes, so it’s entirely possible Houston is up before September.
If he continues to strike guys out at elite rates, his first call-up might be his last.
Check back here for more takes on Detroit Tigers big league ready prospects and where we think they will spend 2019.