2024 Mets outlook: Adrian Houser expectations and predictions

Will his sinker sink again in 2024?

Adrian Houser (37) will serve as rotation depth for the Mets in 2024.
Adrian Houser (37) will serve as rotation depth for the Mets in 2024. / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Adrian Houser is pitching with a new team for the first time in his major league career in 2024. The New York Mets acquired Houser and Tyrone Taylor from the Milwaukee Brewers in December in exchange for pitching prospect Coleman Crow. Houser was one of the many names the Mets added to address the lack of depth in their starting rotation after the subractions of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander via trades the summer before.

In 23 games pitched (21 starts) last year for Milwaukee, Houser went 8-5 with a 4.11 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 34 walks in 111.1 innings. So what should fans expect from him in 2024?

Adrian Houser will start the season as the No. 4 pitcher in the Mets rotation, then possibly show his versatility as a reliever.

David Stearns' emphasis on valuing run prevention will be tested when Houser takes the hill. Houser struck out 20 percent of his batters last year, a tick below average, while his ground ball rate has been above average over the last five years. Houser is that pitcher because his primary pitch is his sinker.

The catch with this is that his sinker was less effective in the past two seasons than it was in 2021. In 2021, opponents hit just .209 against it. In each of 2022 and 2023, opponents hit .296 against it. Hence, he incorporated the 4-seam fastball and the slider more into his game, producing mixed results in the process. The effectiveness of his sinker will determine how successful he will be in 2024.

The interesting thing about acquiring Houser was that it went against a trend the Mets made when it came to adding pitching. Most of the pitchers the Mets added had above average stuff last season, according to Fangraphs last year. He was an exception, as his rankings were well below average on all of his pitches on Fangraph's Stuff+ ratings. However, it should be noted that Houser had two stints on the injured list last season, one for a groin issue and another for an elbow issue.

Houser is not someone who will go exceptionally deep into games. He only threw seven innings or more once last year, and only threw 100 or more pitches one other time in 2023. But he did say earlier this spring that he wants to give the Mets the best chance to win by going deeper into games.

Houser was set to be the fifth starter and a pretty good one for that classification, but with the shoulder injury to Kodai Senga, he is projected to be the No. 4 starter unless something else happens. If the Mets don't go to a six-man rotation and someone else earns a spot in the rotation for the long-haul, he would be a strong candidate to pitch in long relief. Houser has a 1.76 career ERA as a reliever for what it's worth.

2024 stat predictions: 7-7, 4.32 ERA, 125 IP, 100 K, 20 starts