Monday, April 18, 2005

D.J. Houlton Report

D.J. Houlton, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Drafted 326th Overall (11th Rd), 2001 Draft, University of the Pacific
Bats R/Throws R
25 YO, 6'4", 220 lbs

Houlton is a rule 5 pick who has stuck with the Dodgers out of spring training and it looks like he'll be an integral part of a good major league pen, even after Eric Gagne's return pushes somebody back to the minors. He doesn't have the electric stuff you expect to see out of a rule 5 pitcher or an elite reliever. But he does mix in as many as 5 pitches and has a great feel for keeping hitters off balance. His command also makes up for his average stuff. His fastball only gets up to about 90. His curve has some promise. He also has a changeup, splitter, and a slider.

2004 Round Rock: 2.94 ERA, 159 K, 47 BB, 141 H, 14 HR, 159 IP
mL Career: 3.34 ERA, 521 K, 132 BB, 498 H, 56 HR, 546 IP

Nothing there really sticks out as a reason why he shouldn't be capable of succeeding as a long reliever and swing starter in the big leagues. His statistical profile even makes him look like the power pitcher he isn't. He simply looks like a good pitcher. I think it was a mistake for the Astros to leave him unprotected in the rule 5 draft. Bully for him and bully for Paul DePodesta. As if we needed another example pointing out how easy it is to find good relievers who don't carry huge price tags. I don't honestly know whether his long term role is as a reliever or in the back half of the rotation. It usually has as much to do with the other pitchers on the team and the mood of the manager as it does with the pitcher's abilities.

ETA: Now
3 Stars

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