Well, we got another projectible high school arm to add to the system. Bobby Heck's scouts have a great track record with these high school arms. But, what exactly are the Astros getting in Houser?
He's a big kid at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, which means he's got room to develop and to hold up to a larger pro workload. His fastball has touched 94 or 95, depending on the report, but is inconsistent throughout the game. That's something that should get better in time, though ultimately, his velocity may sit around 90-91.
Reports say he's got a good curveball already and is trying to work on a changeup. He's also very athletic, which is a hallmark of these Bobby Heck pitchers. There's still a lot of projection involved in him, but with his frame and ability to refine his pitches, Houser could be very good down the road.
Look, he's a high school arm with two solid pitches and inconsistent velocity on his fastball. That adds up to a guy who's a good bet to wash out or turn into another Ross Seaton, a plodder through the system who never wows at any level. If Houser doesn't develop another pitch, he's probably ticketed for the bullpen, too.
On the other hand, with one or two more MPH on his average fastball, Houser could be a very good power pitching prospect. With a hard curve and a changeup as his third pitch, he'd be a little like Bud Norris. Of course, Norris had a better fastball than Houser does now, but that's his ceiling unless he develops both a change and another pitch, like a two-seam fastball or a cutter.
Will the Astros sign him?
Looking through his Twitter account (@AdrianHouser12), it looks like Houser was very, very excited about the draft. Going in the second round probably makes it a good bet he'll sign, but anything is possible. Haven't seen too many outrageous reports on his price tag, but that's subject to change at any time. I still think the Astros get a deal done pretty quickly and start him in Greenville.
Bibliography (Scouting Reports and video)
Below the jump
Houser's last high school outing was one of his best. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished with a 16-strikeout two-hitter in the Oklahoma 4-A quarterfinals, and two days later Locust Grove won its first baseball championship. Also a center fielder, he scored two of Locust Grove's four runs and threw out a runner at the plate in the semifinals, and made a nifty back-to-the-infield catch during the finale. An Oklahoma recruit, Houser has good size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and a quick arm capable of delivering 90-92 mph fastballs and topping out at 95. He also shows feel for a hard curveball but has a lot of work to do with his changeup. He uses his height and a high arm slot to throw on a steep downhill angle. Though he's athletic, Houser needs to do a better job of maintaining his delivery and command. His father Mike is the baseball coach at Locust Grove, and one of his cousins (Bob Davis) spent eights seasons in the big leagues as a big league catcher.
Houser is a long, lanky right-hander with tons of projection but a need to refine his breaking ball. He will sit 90-94 but touches better than that with good downhill plane on the pitch.
His curveball is good enough to get lower-tier hitters out, 76-78 with two-plane action, but the rotation isn't tight and the break is slow enough that better hitters will sit on it if he doesn't tighten it up. He'll flash a changeup with some tail but rarely uses it. Houser's arm path is clean and he's pretty athletic, but he has a short stride and doesn't use his lower half as much as he should.