Missouri Tigers’ Tanner Houck selected in first round of 2017 MLB Draft

Tanner Houck is the latest Mizzou baseball player to be selected early in the MLB Draft.

Missouri Tigers righthanded pitcher Tanner Houck was taken 24th overall by the Boston Red Sox in the first round of Monday night’s MLB Draft. Houck is a native of Collinsville, Illinois, which is just outside St. Louis. He was ranked 20th in the 2017 draft class by MLB Pipeline and 29th by Baseball America.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder, who was drafted in the 12th round by the Toronto Blue Jays coming out of high school in 2014, posted a 3.33 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP while striking out 95 and walking 24 over 94 2/3 innings at Mizzou this year. While solid, those numbers weren’t as impressive as the ones he posted in 2016, when he had a 2.99 ERA with 106 strikeouts and 27 walks over 105 1/3 innings.

Despite his relative success at the collegiate level, Houck’s most attractive quality is his mid-to-high-90s fastball. It’s impressive enough that it’s allowed him to get college hitters out despite the fact that his slider and changeup aren’t really polished at all yet. As long as Houck remains a starter in the minor leagues, the Red Sox’s biggest focus will be making sure those breaking pitches reach their full potential.

Houck joins Mizzou pitchers such as Max Scherzer, Aaron Crow, and Kyle Gibson who have recently gone in the first round. Rob Zastryzny and Brett Graves have also been selected during the early rounds in recent years.