Can Adrian Houser Bounce Back in 2021?


Going into the 2020 season, things were looking pretty good for starting pitcher Adrian Houser. However, it appeared to be the other way around…

Once the very strange 60-game season came to an end, we saw Houser as a bullpen pitcher and at the bottom of the rotation. Could 2021 be the comeback year for the pitcher?

Starting off Strong

Houser started off his 2020 season pretty strong. He didn’t take any losses and gave up six hits in his first two starts. The hope was to secure him in the third spot behind Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. His second start against the Chicago White Sox, Houser pitched seven amazing shutout innings and looked promising. Unfortunately, something went wrong and he would go on to finish the season with a 1-6 record and a recorded 5.30 ERA in 12 outings. 

After seeing Adrian Houser come out with a rock star performance, it was honestly a little disappointing; watching him go from a starting pitcher to someone who should’ve spent a lot of time in the bullpen to improve his performance. Looking at Houser’s pitching arsenal, he didn’t give everything he had.

What Happened?

He performed the best when he was throwing ground balls, though some of those turned into hits. He had an average 58.5% groundball rate in comparison to the rest of his pitches. Additionally, when these pitches weren’t getting hits, he still would cause a lot of commotion on the bases; 21 walks in a mere 56 innings. His strikeout rate declined due to this as well, going from 25.3% to 17.95% (Struck out 44 batters faced). The exit velocity of his pitching did decline as well to about 86.3 MPH, but that was one of many stats that fans saw a decline within Houser’s performance in the 2020 season. 

While we already did a starting rotation prediction here, many predict Houser to be the third starting pitcher behind Burnes and Woodruff. However, with Brett Anderson making his Brewers return and Josh Lindblom with a possible comeback, we could see Houser fighting for the fifth spot with Freddy Peralta or even Eric Lauer.


Can Houser Come Back?

According to FanGraphs, ZiPS is feeling hopeful about Houser’s 2021 season; saying along with Josh Lindblom, “If they each can eat 150 innings with an ERA in the mid-fours, they’ll be real contributors.” ZiPS is hoping we can see at least 120+ innings out of Houser with a projected 4.37 ERA with 118 K’s. puts Houser at 145 innings pitched with a 4.10 ERA, one of the more promising, optimistic looks at his 2021 season. But, in the end, it’s going to be a “time will tell” type of situation with Adrian Houser.

Hopefully he’s putting in the work in Arizona as spring training is underway. Maybe a couple of trips to the pitching lab will kick-start something in Houser to ensure he has an amazing 2021 season and secures a spot in the rotation.

For More…

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To hear more about this article and thoughts about a possible Adrian Houser comeback, listen to what I had to say on the Nasty Nine Podcast!

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