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Arizona Diamondbacks and the 2023 Draft: Colin Houck

While Keith Law has moved somewhat off of Arizona taking the shortstop from Parkview HS in Georgia, he remains the heavy consensus favorite for Arizona to select at #12.

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Name: Colin Houck
School: Parkview HS, Georgia
Position: SS
Height/Weight: 6’2″, 190 lbs
B/T: R/R
D.O.B.: September 30, 2004
Committed: Mississippi State
Comp: Dansby Swanson


Hit: 55 Power: 55 Run: 55 Field: 55 Arm: 55

The Rundown|

Colin Houck is a two-sport star from Georgian prepster MLB player factory, Parkview HS. In addition to being an accomplished shortstop, Houck is a three-star quarterback for Parkview High who, during his senior season, threw for over 2,100 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

When the 2022 summer showcases wrapped up, Houck was named to Baseball America’s 2022 High School Summer Showcase All-star team as well as being (at the time) rated as the 86th player in the class. Houck said in a recent MLB Network interview that he decided last summer to focus on baseball over football. That decision evidently paid off, as he took home the Gatorade Georgia Baseball Player of the Year award for 2023. Houck’s prospect status has continued to rise post-showcase, as he’s now checking in as the 21st ranked prospect in Baseball America’s Top 2023 MLB Draft Prospects list as well as their ninth overall high school prospect. The young shortstop is also rated as the 14th best prospect by Kiley McDaniel of ESPN and Prospects Live, 10th overall by Keith Law at The Athletic, and 14th overall by MLB Pipeline.

Houck’s tall, slender frame allows him the agility and flexibility to continue manning short. His fielding rankings fluctuate between 50-55 and his arm grades as a 55-60. Of the prep shortstops available, he’s the second most likely to stick at short in the long run, but he has plenty enough arm to slide over to third and enough range to play second should a team decide Houck’s best future is not at short.

Offensively, Houck displays a quiet approach with excellent bat speed/path through the zone. Houck flashes plus raw power when hitting to his pull side but has honest power to all fields. Evaluators hope that once Houck’s attention shifts exclusively to baseball, that he’ll develop better pitch recognition, which should help him cut down on the swing and miss that he sometimes exhibits in his current game. While on the showcase circuit, Houck demonstrated the ability to handle high velocity while also being able to sit back on (and more importantly drive) breaking balls and off-speed pitches.

All of Houck’s tools, his throws, his swing, and his base running are based on raw athleticism and not in quick twitch mechanics. This bodes well for his development as he should be able to maintain the tools as he continues to bulk up a bit once he is on a professional development schedule.

Houck’s biggest weakness is clearly the swing-and-miss that exists in his game, something that is not terribly out of proportion, but could easily be exploited by crafty pitchers. With a swing profile that already projects to have a ton of success to his pull side, he’ll need to be cautious not to sell out to heavily to hitting pull side to tap into his power, letting his natural athleticism take care of putting the ball in the seats. If he can avoid the allure of selling out for the power, cutting down on the swing-and-miss should be a simple matter of coaching and repetition, as he will see a variety of pitches and styles to better identify pitches as they break.

Here is Colin Houck checking in with MLB Now

The Bard’s Take|

Colin Houck is a very typical player when compared to recent Hazen era picks. He is a toolsy, up the middle, prepster with an advanced bat. He has the tools to stick at short long-term and the frame and bat to fit in nicely at the hot corner should he move off of short in the future. The level of consensus around Houck at #12 is eerily similar to that surrounding Corbin Carroll a few years ago. It isn’t very often that a player outside the top-10 finds himself in the same slot on nearly everyone’s list. Most prognosticators seem fairly confident that the Diamondbacks are in on Houck. Those that have recently moved off of Houck to Arizona are still listing him as a primary alternative.

While it is possible that Arizona might see a bit of savings on drafting Houck, the expectation should be that he will command the majority, if not all, of the $5 million slot value. This will likely hold true for the rest of the likely draft candidates for Arizona at #12, so looking at the ability to get funny with the money is not in play here.

Next up: Arjun Nimmala