The Brewers won their arbitration hearing over right-hander Adrian Houser, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link). Hauser will earn $2.425MM in 2022, rather than the $3MM salary he was seeking in his first trip through the arb process.
Houser tossed a career-high 142 1/3 innings in 2021, starting 26 of his 28 games for Milwaukee and posting a 3.22 ERA. Despite some unimpressive strikeout (17.5%) and walk (10.7%) rates, Houser found plenty of success with a recipe of soft contact and lots of ground balls. Houser posted a 59% grounder rate and finished in the 89th percentile of all pitchers in barrel rate.
On a Brewers team full of high-strikeout arms, Houser represented a bit of a change of pace for opposing batters, and it earned him a regular spot in the rotation. The righty moved into starting work in the latter half of the 2019 season after working as a multi-inning reliever, and then had only a 5.30 ERA over 56 innings in the shortened 2020 campaign. Those struggles in 2020 spoke to the variance that grounder specialists can face, as Houser had a .325 BABIP in 2020, as opposed to a .259 BABIP last season.
Houser’s $2.425MM salary did beat the $2.3MM projection from MLBTR’s Matt Swartz, and Houser is off to a solid enough start in 2022 that he looks in good shape to earn a nice raise next winter. With Houser’s case now complete, the Brewers can finally close the books on a very busy arbitration class.