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St. Louis Cardinals Top Prospects: #12

Every other day over the next two months, John Nagel and Kyle Reis will announce a new prospect on The Redbird Daily’s Top 30 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect List. For each prospect, John and Kyle will reveal where that prospect landed on their personal lists and also few thoughts on the prospect. We hope you enjoy!

Prospect #12: Dakota Hudson – 1st Round, 2016

2016 Stats: GCL Cardinals/Palm Beach – 2-1, 0.68 ERA, 13.1 IP, 19 K, 7 BB

Kyle Reis (Prospect #14 On Personal List)

Ask any female that I’ve ever dated and they’ll tell you that I am the easily excited type (that’s obviously a joke. I look like a mixture of a cave troll and a shark. Women are rightfully terrified of me). This 22 year old hurler is the kind of prospect that is a little too easy to get excited about.

His slider, which acts kind of like a violent cutter, might be the best pitch in the organization outside of anything that Alex Reyes throws. There’s the 6’5 215 pound frame and the sparkly 12.8 K/per 9 over a limited sample. There’s also the 2 relief appearances with Springfield during the Texas league playoffs spanning 1.1 innings in which he didn’t allow an earned run, struck out one, and saved the 2nd game of the series.

The one absolute with Hudson is that he is a strike out pitcher. I can’t imagine Hudson even being able to understand what it means to pitch to contact. And why not? I’d be the same way if I had a dynamic slider and a fastball that I could dial up to the high 90’s with good movement. During his time at Mississippi State he struck out 151 in 147 innings, good for a K/9 of 9.24. He struck out a little over 2 over-matched batters per inning during his cameo in the GCL, but was right back to a little over a K/Per while pitching for Palm Beach. That’s a trend I don’t see going away any time soon.

Hudson does have a bit of a command problem and he hasn’t shown the ability to throw strikes consistently. When you combine his collegiate and pro numbers he has a WHIP of 1.37 over 160 innings. He has also issued about 3.4 walks per 9 over that time period. That’s Joe Kelly effectiveness. He’s going to have to clean that up big time to maximize his potential.

I ranked Hudson conservatively at 14 to manage my own expectations. The Cardinals aren’t afraid to be aggressive with a collegiate player, and I think sometimes that creates over hype among the fan base. Unlike I did with Michael Wacha, Marco Gonzales, Tim Cooney, and Luke Weaver, I’m going to learn from my mistakes and take it easy with Hudson. There are plenty of arms in the system both ahead and behind Hudson on the depth chart. I’d really like to see him get a chance to refine before an aggressive promotion.

I made a mistake earlier in the list when I said that Ryan Helsley could develop into a Trevor Bauer type pitcher. Dakota Hudson is the Cardinals Version of Trevor Bauer: a smart guy, with electric stuff that just can’t quite throw enough strikes. If Hudson can’t work out his command issues then he is going to be a dynamic reliever akin to Kelvin Herrera. It has nothing to do with the way that he pitches, but he looks an awful lot like former Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan with what looks like a prepubescent attempt at facial hair.


John Nagel (Prospect #10 on Personal List)

I had Hudson 4 spots higher on my list than Kyle had on his. When I first began the process of ranking players this off-season, I had Hudson much lower, maybe at 15 or 16. Then, I started asking questions like, “Will Hudson have a better MLB career than ______?” The answer kept becoming, “yes”. He moved all the way up to 10 for me, and I think it all comes back to one main thing.

Dakota Hudson is a pretty rare college draft pick. He brings tremendous collegiate experience to the table, pitching in one of (if not the) toughest conferences in college baseball, the SEC. However, we don’t see a limited ceiling on Hudson. Hudson, while maybe a little more riskier than other college arms, has the potential to be a #2 pitcher in a rotation some day.

What gives Hudson that potential is his strikeout fastball plus his solid repertoire of pitches. Like Kyle said, he does have some command issues that the Cardinals will work on this spring and I have full confidence in him getting past those.

The success of Gonzales, Weaver, and Wacha does make Hudson appealing, but I tend to believe that he has a higher ceiling than all of those pitchers, maybe slightly less than what Wacha had.

Dakota Hudson should begin the 2017 season in the rotation of the Springfield Cardinals, which would put him on the brink of a MLB call up at just 22-years old. The worst case scenario is he becomes a pretty valuable reliever at the major league level, best case is a #2 pitcher with great strikeout stuff.

How we rank prospects: Click Here
Best of The Rest: Click Here
#30 Prospect: Daniel Poncedeleon
#29 Prospect: Jonathan Machado
#28 Prospect: Jeremy Martinez
#27 Prospect: John Gant
#26 Prospect: Alvaro Seijas
#25 Prospect: Nick Plummer
#24 Prospect: Jordan Hicks
#23 Prospect: Zac Gallen
#22 Prospect: Bryce Denton
#21 Prospect: Johan Oviedo
#20 Propsect: Randy Arozarena
#19 Prospect: Connor Jones
#18 Prospect: Dylan Carlson
#17 Prospect: Ronnie Williams
#16 Prospect: Paul DeJong
#15 Prospect: Ryan Helsley
#14 Prospect: Eli Alvarez
#13 Prospect: Jake Woodford
#12 Prospect: Dakota Hudson
#11 Prospect: 3/13
#10 Prospect: 3/15
#9 Prospect: 3/17
#8 Prospect: 3/19
#7 Prospect: 3/21
#6 Prospect: 3/23
#5 Prospect: 3/25
#4 Prospect: 3/27
#3 Prospect: 3/29
#2 Prospect: 3/31
#1 Prospect: 4/2

Kyle Reis
Kyle is a South City St Louis born and raised. He is 30 years old and grew up at old Busch Stadium. His favorite Cardinals player of all time is Ray Lankford. Kyle is an overly simple person who loves countable baseball statistics, following minor league baseball, and friendly discourse. He tends to not take people seriously that refer for the team that they root for as "we" instead of "them".
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