School: Mississippi State University; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-5; Weight: 215
Previously Drafted: Texas Rangers, 36th round, 2013
Background: The big right-hander out of Dunlap, Tennessee, reportedly had talks with the Texas Rangers about potentially going in the top five rounds of the 2013 draft if he agreed to take the slotted-bonus deal. The deal broke down, but the ball club still used a late-round flier on him that year.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound hurler was rarely used during his first two seasons with the bulldogs, throwing just a combined 34.0 innings, though he did manage to fan 36 but walked 19. Despite the lack of exposure, Hudson earned a trip to the Cape Cod Summer League following his sophomore campaign. And he was absolutely, mind-boggling dominant.
In 56.2 innings with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, including the regular season and two postseason starts, Hudson whiffed 54, walked 14, allowed just 40 hits, and finished a combined 1.43 ERA.
Hudson was able to carry that momentum over into his third year at Mississippi State: through his first 12 starts, spanning 80.1 innings, he’s posted an 85-to-26 strikeout-to-walk ratio with a solid 2.80 ERA.
Projection: Going back to the 2011 season and extending through the end of 2015, there have been only seven pitchers – Mark Appel, Jon Gray, Nick Tropeano, Kevin Gausman, Jeff Degano, Andrew Barbosa, and Jonas Dufek – that have met the following criteria: at least 6-foot-4, 80+ innings, a strikeout rate of at least 9.5 K/9, a walk rate below 3.0 BB/9, and a homerun rate under 0.30 HR/9. Five of those players – Appel, Gray, Tropeano, Gausman, and Degano – were either high round draft picks and/or have become established big league starters.
Obviously, the overall lack of a track record is a bit concerning when it comes to Hudson; through nearly three full college seasons he’s thrown just 114 innings. However, his work in the Cape last summer helps ease some concerns. Judging by the numbers, he seems to generate a lot of downhill action – as evidenced by his 0.24 career homerun rate – and has the prototypical innings-eater build.
Hudson doesn’t have true ace material, but he should settle in nicely as a #2/#3-type arm. And one that could potentially move quickly through the minor leagues.
Ceiling: 3.0-win player
Floor: 1.5-win player
Grade: First Round