Hudson is just 14 months removed from pitching at Mississippi State, and he’s already reached the Triple-A level. Not only is he advanced for his first full year in the pro ranks, but he’s got room to get even better. Despite some struggles during this viewing – just his second start at the Triple-A level – Hudson showed the makings of a future Role 50, number four starter for the Red Birds.
Hudson displayed a plus four-seam fastball sitting 93-to-96 mph (T97) that he gets good downhill angle on with his tall, high-waisted frame. The pitch also had some arm-side run at times. At present, he has average control of the pitch, however with 151 pro innings and a repeatable delivery there’s no reason to think the fastball control, and the overall control profile (career 2.98 BB/9), could reach above average.
The 22-year old’s best secondary offering is a 60-grade slider that sat 86-to-88 mph and at times looks like a cutter at the higher end of the velo range. He used it mostly for putaway and had ¾’s depth and sharp break, and it misses bats. Hudson’s other breaking ball was a curveball that had 11-to-5 shape and was used mostly as a get-me-over offering. During this outing he did a nice job locating the curveball to both sides of the plate.
Hudson also mixed in an average changeup 80-to-82 mph and had some fading action. The pitch plays up because of good arm action and its 10-12 mph velocity separation from the fastball, and he does a nice job of keeping the pitch down in the zone to elicit weak contact.
Hudson has a high floor given his good makeup, mound presence and four-pitch mix, but also a relatively high ceiling because of how good the stuff is. At this point, one could assume the Cardinals want to see Hudson build his innings and maintain his arm strength and effectiveness deeper into games. With good pitching depth already residing in the high minors, it’s likely Hudson spends most – if not all – of 2018 back with Memphis.