Monday, December 13, 2004

2005 Dodgers: D.J. Houlton

Check it out:

Houlton: 4.96 ERA, 158 IP, 137 K, 58 BB, 28 HR
Ishii: 5.33 ERA, 152 IP, 121 K, 102 BB, 19 HR

Those are the 2005 projections for D.J. Houlton and Kaz Ishii from Dan Szymborski's ZiPS system.

Houlton was drafted at the age of 20 out of Fullerton in the 11th round of the 2001 draft by the Astros. He made 13 starts in the Appalachian League that year and was absolutely dominating, with a 71 K and only 7 BB. He was solid in High-A in 2002, with a K:BB ratio of 4.6 and a 3.14 ERA. In 2003, he was good with AA Round Rock before being called up to AAA New Orleans, where he struggled, especially in giving up the long ball. In 2004, the Astros for whatever reason decided to keep him down in AA, where he pitched 159 innings over 28 starts with a 2.94 ERA, 159 K, 47 BB, and 14 HR.

According to John Sickels, Houlton isn't a scout's pitcher, succeeding with a decent fastball and a lot of junk. His results in K:BB can't be argued with, and it looks like going forward the key question for him is whether he can prevent home runs.

He's only pitched 60 innings above AA, and those weren't very successful. However, that happened in 2003, and at age 25 he could be an effective swingman for the Dodgers, probably not quite league average but probably more valuable than Ishii. If it turns out he's not, the Dodgers are only out $50,000.

Sorry I don't have that much to say about Houlton. Wouldn't it be great if Sabean could be convinced to deal Ishii for Pierzynski, straight up?

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