Astros Draft Prospect of the Week: Dakota Hudson
Last week we kicked off our draft series with a prospect profile of University of Florida outfielder, Buddy Reed. This week we turn our attention to the mound as we highlight Mississippi State right-hander, Dakota Hudson.
Unlike Reed, Hudson has been one of the draft’s fastest risers. This past summer he wasn’t expected to go in the first round, but began to show scouts he had cleaned up his command and was turning the corner. So far he’s absolutely dominated SEC play to the tune of a 1.68 ERA over 53.2 IP.
2014: (Freshman) 6 G, 5 GS, 17.1 IP, 4.67 ERA, 10 K
2015: 17 G, 0 GS, 16.2 IP, 4.32 ERA. 26 K
2016: 8 G, 8 GS, 53.2 IP, 1.68 ERA, 59 K
Hudson has the exact frame that MLB scouts look for in a pitcher. He’s 6’5″ and 215 lbs.
Hudson has a really clean delivery. It’s simple with few moving parts, which is what’s needed when you have the hulking 6’5″ frame that he possesses. Every once in a while he lets his front hip leak and he yanks his fastball in the ground, but that’s not something that will lead to injury or derail his career. He maintains his velocity out of the stretch and he’s quick to the plate in order to control the running game.
Hudson has a three pitch mix in his fastball, slider, and changeup. Both his fastball and his slider are elite offerings, almost ensuring success as a bullpen pitcher at the very least. If he can develop his changeup into a more consistent offering, then he will be a front of the rotation stud for years to come.
His fastball sits 94-96 and can touch 98. He commands it well to both sides of the plate for the most part, with the aforementioned hip leak being the only time he struggles commanding it. He throws a cutter as well that has good movement and maintains the 94-96 MPH velocity
He throws an extremely hard and sharp slider that has touched 92 MPH but sits mostly in the 85-88 MPH range. His slider is most effective when he’s able to throw it at the back foot of lefties and bury it down and away from righties. Every once in a while his arm will drag and he’ll backdoor it. He can get away with that in college, but elite MLB hitters will take the cement mixer inside slider and turn on it.
His changeup is very inconsistent. He’ll show flashes of brilliance and will command it low in the zone in the 82-84 MPH range now and then. There’s also lots of times where he’ll have no feel for it and leave it up in the zone and throw it hard in the 88 MPH range, which is much too fast to distinguish it from his fastball and leaves it to get absolutely mashed.
I know Lidge was a reliever and Hudson is a starter, but the fastball/slider mix they both have is eerily similar. I think Hudson will develop his changeup and be a starter down the line, but if he’s not able to then he will be a frontline closer.