Las Vegas, Nevada —— Late last month, Baseball Census saw Colorado Rockies right-handed pitching prospect Austin House throw for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League‘s Albuquerque Isotopes on the road at Cashman Field in Las Vegas against the Las Vegas 51s. Our full Austin House scouting report is below; in addition, you can visit our Austin House baseball player page by clicking here.
Austin House scouting report notes
Austin House came over to the Colorado Rockies in a small, overlooked trade in December of 2014 from the Oakland Athletics for first baseman Mark Canha (who the Rockies had a day earlier selected in the Rule 5 Draft from the Miami Marlins). And while House put up largely pedestrian numbers in the Colorado Rockies’ system in 2015 and 2016 after the trade, he’s started this summer on a torrid pace with the Albuquerque Isotopes: just one earned run allowed (on a solo home run) in 19 innings of work across his first 14 games, with 19 strikeouts against six walks and a minuscule 0.47 ERA. He’s peaking at the right time, in a sustained look at Triple-A and in an organization that—no matter how good things may be going at the big league level—could always use more pitching depth. You know, just in case.
House is doing all this with merely average stuff, more or less a two-pitch pitcher coming out of the bullpen: fastball and slider. His fastball sits 90-93 mph, but he’ll touch 94 mph. It’s a fairly straight pitch, though, which means he must command it well and he doesn’t have a ton of room for error within the strike zone. Historically, his command has been pretty consistent, and he’s done a good job with it so far in 2017. He’ll occasionally show some arm-side run with the pitch, but he’s largely a straight, hard fastball guy that needs to work on a downward plane from his high-three quarters arm slot.
Coupled with the fastball, House shows a slider that sits 83-85 mph. He’s well-served by how hard he throws it; the pitch comes out clean, his arm action is identical to the fastball, and it can be a tough offering to pick up out of his hand. That’s critical considering the break isn’t huge, with the slider acting almost like a good, hard two-seam cutter but with slightly more vertical depth. He commands it well and intuitively understands how to use it, though, and the slider has become a good source of the swing-and-miss stuff that has developed of late in his career. House’s biggest asset there, and in his one-two combo in general, is understanding when and how to pair them up; it’s not that his stuff is raw and overpowering as much as it’s nuanced in how he plays one pitch off the other depending on the situation.
The Austin House scouting report sure doesn’t make a case for top prospect or anything: he’s 26 years old already, not on the Colorado Rockies’ 40-man roster, and has never been in the big leagues before, with no track record. It’ll be a tough road from here to have his contract purchased ahead of other more roster-ready 40-man guys in Albuquerque.
That said, results matter above everything, and nobody is pitching better than House right now. He probably doesn’t have enough natural, hard stuff to be a successful long-time big league reliever, but there’s no reason the Colorado Rockies shouldn’t see him as an up-and-down guy who could get a stint or two in Denver as needed now that he’s riding such a hot hand in the Pacific Coast League. Right now, fellow Albuquerque reliever CC Lee probably has more in the tank to show successfully in Denver if left to pick between these two hot hands, but House isn’t far behind. One thing is for sure: as consistent as his mechanics and command are, he’ll only help himself by throwing strikes and competing regardless of the role if he ever does get to Coors Field.
To visit Austin House’s player page, please click here.
Austin House scouting report: 140 characters or less
Advanced command, advanced pitchability, and two workable pitches make Austin House a good up-and-down candidate for a big league bullpen.
In this Colorado Rockies / Austin House baseball scouting report: