Q&A with Mets 17th Round Pick Mitch Houck

Inside Pitch caught up with the Mets' 17th round draft pick, University of Central Florida hurler Mitch Houck, for a Draft Day Q&A. Find out more about his style of pitching, what role sees himself filling in the system, what he thinks of New York, and more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Tell us what is going through your mind right now after being selected by a team like the New York Mets?

Mitch Houck: I'm just really excited it's finally over with to be honest, it's been pretty frustrating. I kind of dropped a little lower than I was expecting, but I'm just happy to finally get into a good organization.

Inside Pitch: Where did you expect to go?

Houck: I was hoping I was going to get inside the top 10 rounds. When that didn't happen I was a little worried, but things ended up working out for the best.

Inside Pitch: Were you surprised it was the Mets that selected you? Did you and the Mets have any discussions leading up to the draft?

Houck: A little. I was little surprised because [a Mets scout and I] had talked probably three or four times, I liked him a lot. I never met him but he sounded like a good guy. I know the Mets are a great organization so I'm pretty excited.

I was getting calls from the Orioles—I got calls from the Orioles in three different rounds and they never pulled the trigger. Guess it worked out for the best.

Inside Pitch: Do you have any ideas of what the Mets' organization or the farm system is like?

Houck: The only thing that I know right now is Short Season is up in Brooklyn, that's all I know right now and that's where I'll be heading.

Inside Pitch: What type of pitcher are you and how do you see yourself fitting in with the Mets?

Houck: I feel like in the minors I'm probably most likely going to be a lefty reliever. I got a pretty good fastball, I run it up in the low 90s and I consider my slider to be my out-pitch. So I feel like I bring two pretty good pitches to the table and hopefully I'll be able to move quick if I can go out there and throw strikes.

Inside Pitch: You started in college, correct?

Houck: I started all throughout college, I racked up 200 innings in two and a half seasons, so I'm used to getting a lot of innings but I feel like my calling's going to be relieving.

Inside Pitch: So is it disappointing to move to the bullpen?

Houck: Absolutely not, whatever's going to get me playing in the majors one day, I want to do. That's all that's on my mind and all that really matters to me.

Inside Pitch: What is your best pitch and what do you think needs the most work?

Houck: I'd say my biggest weakness would probably be my inconsistency with my fastball. I've had a little trouble this season controlling my fastball, and I feel like that's probably why I dropped so far today, because of that.

I feel like I got a good enough slider to get me far, hopefully it'll help me to take it to the next level.

Inside Pitch: Your ERA was inflated, over 7. How did your season go?

Houck: Through my first five or six starts I probably had under a 3 ERA, then I had about four starts there where having a really bad time throwing strikes. I was walking a lot of people and giving up runs in bunches. It was a tough little time but I feel like I finished the season pretty strong, so hopefully I can go into minor league ball with a little momentum.

Inside Pitch: So the Mets' fans have an idea of what your game is like, who at the Major League level would you compare your game to and why?

Houck: Honestly, I feel like a guy like Jon Lester, I feel like I resemble him. I know a lot of people have been talking about me kind of resembling Al Leiter, I know he doesn't pitch anymore, but we've kind of got similar body types and similar pitches, so I guess somebody like Al Leiter would be a good comparison.

Inside Pitch: Who were your favorite team and player growing up?

Houck: I actually rooted for two different teams. Obviously I was a big Marlins fan because I'm from South Florida, so I grew up watching them, but I also followed the Cardinals a lot because that's the team that my dad's always watched. So I was a big Marlins and Cardinals fan growing up. It's funny cause the rest of my family is all from New York, so they all like the Mets.

I'd say right now my two favorite players are Jon Lester and Rich Hill, I like those guys a lot. I see myself being like them someday.

Inside Pitch: What would you say your best moment in baseball was?

Houck: Well this past season I threw my first collegiate no-hitter, so I'd say that's probably the best time of my baseball career. It's a step up from high school and it's pretty comforting being able to do that at the college level.

Inside Pitch: Now New York is known for its high intensity atmosphere? What do you think about the prospects of one day playing in New York?

Houck: I actually stopped in New York City on my way up to Cape Cod last summer because I played in the cape league last summer, so you know I stopped in New York. It was my first time, it was pretty wild.

I know it's going to be tough, I know it's going to be difficult doing it, but I feel like that's the fun of the game, going out there and knowing that your job's on line if you don't do what you got to do. I'm going to take it and turn it to positive energy and go out there and do my thing.

Inside Pitch: What are your immediate plans now that you have drafted by the Mets? Is it your intention to sign now and start your professional career immediately?

Houck: I really want to, I don't want to have to wait out or anything like that, that's not what I want to do. I'm looking forward to signing and getting out of here as soon as possible.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: Tell us what is going through your mind right now after being selected by a team like the New York Mets?
\r\n
\r\nMitch Houck: I'm just really excited it's finally over with to be honest, it's been pretty frustrating. I kind of dropped a little lower than I was expecting, but I'm just happy to finally get into a good organization.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Where did you expect to go?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: I was hoping I was going to get inside the top 10 rounds. When that \r\ndidn't happen I was a little worried, but things ended up working out for the \r\nbest.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Were you surprised it was the Mets that selected you? Did you and \r\nthe Mets have any discussions leading up to the draft?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: A little. I was little surprised because [a Mets scout and I] had talked probably three or four times, I liked him a lot. I never met him but he sounded like a good guy. I know the Mets are a great organization so I'm pretty excited.
\r\n
\r\nI was getting calls from the Orioles—I got calls from the Orioles in three different rounds and they never pulled the trigger. Guess it worked out for the best.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Do you have any ideas of what the Mets' organization or the farm \r\nsystem is like?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: The only thing that I know right now is Short Season is up in Brooklyn, \r\nthat's all I know right now and that's where I'll be heading.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What type of pitcher are you and how do you see yourself fitting in with the Mets?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: I feel like in the minors I'm probably most likely going to be a lefty reliever. I got a pretty good fastball, I run it up in the low 90s and I consider my slider to be my out-pitch. So I feel like I bring two pretty good pitches to the table and hopefully I'll be able to move quick if I can go out there and throw strikes.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You started in college, correct?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: I started all throughout college, I racked up 200 innings in two and a half seasons, so I'm used to getting a lot of innings but I feel like my calling's going to be relieving.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: So is it disappointing to move to the bullpen?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: Absolutely not, whatever's going to get me playing in the majors one day, I want to do. That's all that's on my mind and all that really matters to me.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What is your best pitch and what do you think needs the most work?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: I'd say my biggest weakness would probably be my inconsistency with my fastball. I've had a little trouble this season controlling my fastball, and I feel like that's probably why I dropped so far today, because of that.
\r\n
\r\nI feel like I got a good enough slider to get me far, hopefully it'll help me to take it to the next level.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Your ERA was inflated, over 7. How did your season go?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: Through my first five or six starts I probably had under a 3 ERA, then I had about four starts there where having a really bad time throwing strikes. I was walking a lot of people and giving up runs in bunches. It was a tough little time but I feel like I finished the season pretty strong, so hopefully I can go into minor league ball with a little momentum.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: So the Mets' fans have an idea of what your game is like, who at \r\nthe Major League level would you compare your game to and why?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: Honestly, I feel like a guy like Jon Lester, I feel like I resemble him. I know a lot of people have been talking about me kind of resembling Al Leiter, I know he doesn't pitch anymore, but we've kind of got similar body types and similar pitches, so I guess somebody like Al Leiter would be a good comparison.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Who were your favorite team and player growing up?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: I actually rooted for two different teams. Obviously I was a big Marlins fan because I'm from South Florida, so I grew up watching them, but I also followed the Cardinals a lot because that's the team that my dad's always watched. So I was a big Marlins and Cardinals fan growing up. It's funny cause the rest of my family is all from New York, so they all like the Mets.
\r\n
\r\nI'd say right now my two favorite players are Jon Lester and Rich Hill, I like those guys a lot. I see myself being like them someday.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What would you say your best moment in baseball was?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: Well this past season I threw my first collegiate no-hitter, so I'd say that's probably the best time of my baseball career. It's a step up from high school and it's pretty comforting being able to do that at the college level.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Now New York is known for its high intensity atmosphere? What do you think about the prospects of one day playing in New York?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: I actually stopped in New York City on my way up to Cape Cod last summer because I played in the cape league last summer, so you know I stopped in New York. It was my first time, it was pretty wild.
\r\n
\r\nI know it's going to be tough, I know it's going to be difficult doing it, but I feel like that's the fun of the game, going out there and knowing that your job's on line if you don't do what you got to do. I'm going to take it and turn it to positive energy and go out there and do my thing.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What are your immediate plans now that you have drafted by the \r\nMets? Is it your intention to sign now and start your professional career immediately?
\r\n
\r\nHouck: I really want to, I don't want to have to wait out or anything like that, \r\nthat's not what I want to do. I'm looking forward to signing and getting out of here as soon as possible.
\r\n
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