Adrian David Houser
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 228 lb.
- High School Locust Grove High School
- Debut September 26, 2015
Pitcher Adrian Houser was a 2nd-round selection by the Houston Astros in the 2011 amateur draft, out of a high school in Oklahoma. The scout was Jim Stevenson. He had gone 9-1 with a 0.76 ERA and 125 K in 62 IP while leading his team to the state title; he also hit .487. He was Houston's second pick, following college outfielder George Springer.
He turned pro immediately and spent the 2011 season between the Greeneville Astros and the GCL Astros, combining for a 2-4, 4.31 mark in 12 games as a starting pitcher. He was back with Greeneville in 2012, going 3-4, 4.19 in 11 starts. In 2013, he moved up to the Tri-City ValleyCats of the New York-Penn League where his record was 0-4, 3.42 in 14 games. In 2014, he played full-season ball for the first time, with the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Class A Midwest League and appeared in 25 games, 17 of them starts, while logging 108 2/3 innings. His won-loss record of 5-6 and his 4.14 ERA were unremarkable, but he had a very solid K/W ratio of 93/37, indicative of future success.
2015 was a test as he was sent to the Lancaster JetHawks of the California League, a very tough environment for pitchers. He did alright in the circumstances, with a 2-2 mark and a 4.35 ERA in 12 games, with again two-thirds of his appearances coming in a starting role and the remainder in long relief. He continued his steady but unspectacular progression when on June 22nd he was promoted to the AA Corpus Christi Hooks. He was 1-2, 6.21 aver 6 games when on July 30th, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers with three other prospects - Josh Hader, Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana - in return for major leaguers Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. The fact that he was part of a major trade with three players who were clearly top prospects was the first clear indication that someone considered him more than simply a solid minor league role player. He made his major league debut with the Brewers on September 26th and pitched 2 scoreless innings in 2 appearances. He then did not return to the big leagues until 2018. In 2016, he was 3-7, 5.25 in 13 starts for the AA Biloxi Shuckers, then followed that in 2017 with only 9 appearances, totaling just 17 2/3 innings in Class A and in Rookie Class while coming back from an injury.
After those two lost seasons, he started 2018 in Milwaukee, where he pitched 2 scoreless innings in relief on April 8th, then was sent to Biloxi where he went 0-1, 4.73 in 8 starts. He then was promoted to the AAA Colorado Springs SkySox. In between this, he made an other one-off appearance in the majors on May 26th, with another 2 scoreless innings. He finally gave up his first big league runs on June 17th, but it came after he had had to leave Colorado Springs at 5 a.m., fly to Chicago, IL and then drive to Milwaukee, WI to make it to the ballpark just in time for an afternoon game against the Philadelphia Phillies. He entered the game in the 8th inning with his team trailing 8-5 and was feeling sick, having to throw up a couple of times behind the mound. In these less than ideal circumstances, he gave up doubles to Jorge Alfaro and Scott Kingery to account for a run. He ended up going 0-0, 3.29 in 7 games for Milwaukee that season.
He had his first complete major league season in 2019, when he made 18 starts in 35 appearance, pitched 111 1/3 innings and finished at 6-7, 3.72. He struck out 117 batters, but did not appear in the postseason. In 2020, during the season that was shortened to 60 games by the Coronavirus pandemic, he was the starter in 11 of 12 appearances, but did not pitch as well as the year before, finishing at 1-6, 5.30. His strikeout rate went down, with 44 in 56 innings, but he did make his postseason debut, pitching 2 scoreless innings in relief as Milwaukee was swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Wild Card Series. In 2021, he was one of the less heralded members of an outstanding starting rotation that included three All-Stars, but on September 4th, he became the first Brewers pitcher since Jimmy Nelson in 2017 to pitch a complete game, and the first since Kyle Lohse in 2014 to pitch a nine-inning shutout as he defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0. The 1,011 games between shutouts was the longest drought in major league history.