The Mets’ relatively quiet offseason briefly awoke on Wednesday when pitcher Adrian Houser and outfielder Tyrone Taylor were acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers. The Mets sent minor leaguer Coleman Crow to Milwaukee to complete the trade.
Now, with Yoshinobu Yamamoto officially a Dodger, the Mets could soon have big expectations for Houser. Team president David Stearns knows him well from their time in Milwaukee, where Houser spent seven seasons. In that time, he posted a clean 4.00 ERA.
And as of now, Houser figures to be a mid-rotation arm behind Kodai Senga and Luis Severino. He’s fastball dominant and also throws a slider, curveball, and changeup. Better yet, he’s a groundball pitcher and owns a career groundball rate (GB%) of 52.3%. Houser is not a strikeout pitcher and instead pitches to contact, which can sometimes lead to issues with walks and a .294 career BABIP.
Which leads us to the downside of Adrian Houser, and some serious concerns. The first one is obvious enough. He can’t stay healthy. He hasn’t once pitched 150 innings in a season and has a history of groin and elbow injuries. In that way, he’s an almost perfect fit for the Mets!
However, there is a greater concern. Last season, Houser’s velocity took a significant drop. His fastball velocity, which he threw 71% of the time, dipped from 94 to 92.6 mph. His slider saw an even bigger decrease, 85 to 82.3 mph.
Is this the big, flagship arm the pitching-hungry Mets have added this offseason?
Needless to say, new manager Carlos Mendoza and pitching Coach Jeremy Hefner have their work cut out for them. Maybe Stearns surprises them and signs either Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery. Or, rather, maybe Stearns uses his Milwaukee connections to trade for Corbin Burnes at a discount.
One way or the other, Adrian Houser is far from a marquee signing. He will be a mid-to-back end rotation arm in Flushing, and only when healthy.
Here’s hoping at least one key free agent is willing to take Steve Cohen’s money.