2. Tanner Houck
Similar to Bello, Houck is another promising pitcher who's shown flashes of brilliance for Boston but hasn't been able to put it all together.
After putting up a 3.02 ERA in 146 innings over his first three seasons from 2020-2022, Houck went off the rails in 2023 when the team tried to make him a full-time starter. The transition did not go well, as Houck endured his worst season as a professional with a 6-10 record and a 5.01 ERA.
The Red Sox learned a valuable lesson in 2023, which is that Houck is better as a swingman and more effective coming out of the bullpen. He doesn't quite have the stamina or stuff to get through a batting order three times, and that's okay. The team just needs to put him in position to succeed rather than push him beyond his limits, which should help restore his confidence.
Houck was miscast as a starter last year when Bloom pushed him to fill one of the many holes in the rotation. If Breslow actually addresses those needs with proven starting pitchers, however, Houck will be able to start the year in the bullpen and fill in as a spot starter when needed. That strategy worked well for Houck in 2022, when he made 4 starts, notched 8 saves and had a 3.15 ERA in 60 innings.
As a former pitcher himself, Breslow should do a better job of recognizing Houck's strengths and weaknesses and getting the most out of him this year.