Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Interview with Adrian Houser

At a time when most 18-year olds are starting college or looking for entry level jobs, Adrian Houser was embarking on a professional baseball career.  He will be turning 19 on February 2nd, shortly before he heads to his first Spring Training.  Since we know very little about Adrian, I reached out to ask him a few questions.

But first a little stats background …

RHP Adrian Houser was the Astros 2nd Round draft pick in 2011.  As a senior at Locust Grove HS in Oklahoma, he was 10-1 with an 0.62 ERA, 125SO:28BB in 62 innings pitched.  In 6 games with the GCL Astros, he had a 4.03 ERA, a 1.522 WHIP and 10.1 SO/9.  In 6 games with the Greeneville Astros, he had a 4.56 ERA, a 1.558 WHIP and a 6.7 SO/9.

WTH:  Let's get right to the meat of it.  You're said to have one of the best fastballs in the organization and, according to Baseball America, "a hard curveball with plus potential."  I also read that you would need to be working on your change-up as you didn't use it very often in high school.  Can you tell me a little about where you were with your pitches when you first started with the GCL Astros and what you worked on and were able to accomplish by the time you finished up the season at Greeneville?

AH:  When I first started with the GCL Astros my pitches were all about like they were in high school.  They were all good, besides my change-up which I hardly threw in a high school game, but all of my pitches still needed a lot of work.  Once I started throwing in the GCL I was able to work more with my change-up and get it developed more to go along better with my other pitches.  I also worked on lengthening my stride and keeping all my pitches in the bottom part of the zone.  I worked on those two things the whole summer.  By the end of the season in Greeneville all my pitches were looking pretty good.  I was hitting spots well with my fastballs, and keeping my curveball and change-up down in the zone.  My change-up was my best improved pitch over the summer.

WTH:  What other sports did you play in high school?  Was baseball always your first love?  I understand you also played centerfield in high school.  Do you miss playing a position and getting to hit?

AH:  In high school I played baseball, basketball, and football.  I played all three sports until my senior year. I decided not to play football after my commitment to the University of Oklahoma for baseball.  Baseball was definitely my first love! I've played it the longest and love to play it the most. I always have and always will.  It was the first sport I ever learned to play.  I do miss playing a position and hitting.  I loved to play centerfield during high school. It was a blast and I also loved to hit and still do.  I love pitching the most though; its what I'm best at.  It would be awesome though if I could do all three.

WTH:  You won't turn 19 until February 2nd.  How much of an adjustment was it going to Kissimmee straight out of high school?  What was the most difficult part of the adjustment?

AH:  It was a pretty big adjustment going to Kissimmee by myself, but I was somewhat used to being on my own because I played travel ball the summer before and I would be away from home for weeks at a time.  It didn't take me long to adjust after I got there and got settled in.  The hardest part was being away from all of my friends for the whole summer.  I missed hanging out with them the most, and being so far away from home it wasn't an easy trip for them to come see me.

WTH:  You were drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft and signed very quickly. Was there ever any doubt either before or after you signed that you made the right move?  Did it help to have your friends Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley being drafted as well?  Do you still keep in touch with them?

AH:  I knew from the start that I wanted to play professional baseball and being drafted so high made it a pretty easy decision that I wasn't going to go to school. I was going to sign a professional baseball contract.  Having my friends Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley drafted as well made the decision even easier.  It was pretty cool that we played baseball together since we were 8 or 9 and we all signed a professional contract in the same year.  I do keep in touch with them.  I actually workout every morning with Dylan and some other baseball guys and I talk to Archie every now and then.

WTH:  Your 2011 season was evenly split with you pitching in 6 games for the GCL team and 6 games for the Greeneville team.  How did the experiences compare? (h/t to Steve of Appy Astros for this question)

AH:  In the GCL it was very hot, we played in the middle of the day, and we had little to no fans at the games so when we played.  It was pretty much just the teams there to watch and play the games.  It wasn't quite as fun as playing in Greeneville, but it was still fun because I got to play the game that I love.  In Greeneville it was still pretty hot, but not as bad as it was in the GCL.  We also didn't play in the middle of the day and we had quite a few fans coming to our games - a whole lot more than in the GCL.

WTH:  Were there any pitchers growing up that you particularly admired or wanted to emulate?  Any role models?

AH:  As a kid I had always liked Randy Johnson.  He played on my favorite team at the time with A-Rod and Ken Griffey Jr.  I also liked Nolan Ryan and that's probably because he is my dad's favorite pitcher.  Now that I am older he has become my favorite pitcher.

WTH:  What will be your biggest focus in the upcoming season?  What will you be trying to accomplish?

AH:  My biggest focus this upcoming season is to pitch the best I can in every game and to help my team win as much as I can.  I'll also be focusing on pushing myself and making myself better throughout the whole season.  I will be trying to and will accomplish being a better overall pitcher at the end of the season than I am at the beginning of the season.

WTH:  Finally, can you tell us something about yourself that most people don't know that might surprise them?

AH:  There isn't much about myself that would surprise somebody.  I'm just an average guy fulfilling a dream and goal that I had when I was five years old.

Many thanks to Adrian for letting us get to know him a little better.  If you aren’t already, give him a follow on twitter ~ @AdrianHouser12 

4 comments:

  1. I really enjoy these play interviews, one of the main reasons I make sure to visit the site daily

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  2. Thanks! I'm going to try to continue them through the season if the players can find the time for me. Thanks for reading.

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  3. I've actually been working on a few interviews, myself. So far, the only Astro interview I have is with Brandon Culbreth, who I had the chance to meet for dinner (with his mother, who is a fun lady to be around) twice going to and from Florida. Trying to get a few others going, and I'll be down in Kissimmee to take pics of Brandon and some of the others, as well.

    Anyway, I like your site, and I hope to keep seeing new posts on our 'Stros. Keep up the good work!

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  4. Great interview. Keep up the good work. I read your site daily.

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