5 Red Sox Players Who Are Cementing Themselves As Franchise Cornerstones

Which Red Sox players are emerging as important parts of Boston's future?
Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran
Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages
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3. Tanner Houck

While the flashes of Houck’s extreme potential were there at the start of his Red Sox career, even drawing comparisons to a right-handed Chris Sale, Houck struggled to go deep into games, and couldn’t land a permanent spot in Boston’s starting rotation.

The Red Sox gave Houck another opportunity to stick in the rotation, and he has delivered. In 10 starts, Houck owns a 1.94 ERA with a fantastic 2.19 FIP. His walk rate is nearly cut in half from last season, and he leads MLB with a 0.1 HR/9, allowing just a single long ball in 65 innings.

Houck has also shown the ability to go further into games. Last season, Houck allowed a .937 OPS in his 3rd time facing a batter, but this season, it’s down to a .596 OPS. He’s been a good bet to give the Red Sox six strong innings, even throwing a complete game shutout masterpiece against the Guardians in April.

With improved command, a deadly slider, and better success on the 3rd time through the order, Houck has finally put the pieces together to become a front-line starting pitcher. He is under arbitration for the next three seasons, giving Boston the commodity of a reliable and controllable starting pitcher.