Five Missouri baseball players saw their dreams of making it to the pros come true Monday when they were selected in the 2017 MLB draft.
In the first round of the draft, the Boston Red Sox selected Mizzou ace Tanner Houck with the No. 24 pick overall.
The burly 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander from Collinsville, Illinois had been on the Red Sox’s radar for quite some time.
“Houck is a pitcher we have scouted and gotten to know for the past few years,” Mike Rikard, Red Sox vice president of amateur scouting, said in a press release. “We think he has a chance to be a very good starting pitcher for the Red Sox.”
Monday night did not mark the first time an MLB team had come knocking on Houck’s door. In 2014, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school in the 12th round, 330 places behind this year's spot. Houck ultimately opted to turn down the offer and made the decision to play baseball for Mizzou.
“His durability and demeanor both on the field and off will be an asset in Boston,” Missouri pitching coach Patrick Hallmark said in a press release. “I'm super proud of Tanner and look forward to watching him work his way to Boston."
Houck’s biggest assets are his arm speed and his arsenal of pitches that includes a sharp fastball and two well-developed secondary options: his sinker and his slider. Typically throwing 92-96 mph and peaking at 98 mph, Houck was labeled one of the hardest throwers in the draft. The Red Sox organization is confident that he has a lot of talent to bring to the mound.
"He's got good deception in his delivery. He's got a really good, hard, sinking fastball that he can run up to 97 mph,” Rikard said in a press release. “He really competes on the mound. He just does a lot of the things we look for in a college pitcher."
During his time as a Tiger, Houck became one of the most dominant pitchers in Missouri baseball history.
In his three seasons on the team, he struck out 292 batters, the fourth most in Mizzou history, and tossed 300 2/3 innings, ranking seventh in program history.
Four of Houck’s teammates were selected later in the draft.
In the 15th round, right-handed pitcher Bryce Montes De Oca was selected by the Washington Nationals. Infielder Robbie Glendinning was picked in the 21st round as an infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, while catcher Brett Bond went to the Houston Astros in the 23rd round. Last, but certainly not least, right-handed pitcher Cole Bartlett was chosen by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 25th round.
Edited by Eli Lederman | email@example.com