Towering lefty Bryan Hudson does not get the prospect chatter of some of the other pitchers in the organization, but his upside may well be comparable with some of the guys at the top of the Cubs’ prospect lists. The thing with very young, very tall lefties, though, is that it can take some time before they settle into the their mechanics. The ability to repeat a delivery is pretty much the first step to developing control, and without control, life can be rough for a pitcher.
And on that score we have some good news about the 20-year-old third round pick (2015). Hudson has now pitched three straight good starts, including his five shutout innings yesterday. He has not piled up the strikeouts, just 11 in those 16 innings, but he hasn’t allowed too many walks either (6). What he has done is limit the hard contact and leverage the angle and sink on his stuff to get an extreme amount of ground balls. For the season his GO/AO is a mind boggling 3.07, up from an already good 1.56 before his good run of starts began.
So is Hudson ready to break out? Maybe. Maybe not. He still misses his spots, as evidenced by his five hit batters on the season, but his mechanics look quite a bit better than what we saw with Eugene a year ago. The Cubs won’t rush Hudson, so there is no need to get too excited just yet. But if you had prematurely filed him as a draft bust I would suggest taking a look at his latest highlights and perhaps rethinking that.
- Justin Grimm: 1 IP, 2K, 1 BB, and the save
- Jack Leathersich: 2 IP, 3K, 1 H
- Victor Caratini: 3 for 5, 2 2B (line is up to .349/.390/.527)
- Chesny Young: 3 for 5, 2B
- Duane Underwood: 5 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 K
- Daury Torrez: 3 IP, 1 H, 2 K
- Ryan McNeil: 1 IP, 1 H, 3 K
- Charcer Burks: 1 for 2, HR
- Jacob Hannemann: 1 for 2, 2B
- David Bote: 1 for 2, HR, BB
- Yasiel Balaguert: 1 for 4, HR
- Adbert Alzolay: 7 IP, 4 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K
- Bryant Flete: 2 for 4, 2B
- Tyler Alamo: 2 for 4
- Jesse Hodges: 2 for 4
- Right-handed reliever Craig Brooks has been promoted to Tennessee. The 5’11” product of the 2015 draft (7th round) had been with Myrtle Beach where, in 20.1 innings over 12 games, he had allowed a single earned run on 9 hits while striking out 30. His ERA is 0.44, and hitters are batting just .134 off him.
- Strikeouts are a curious stat when looking at minor league pitching. The typical thing is to look at strikeouts as the ability to miss bats, and therefor something any good pitching prospect needs. I’m not so sure that’s the right way to think of them, though. Strikeouts are a factor of stuff, but they are also a factor of sequencing and how the pitcher uses their pitches to attack a hitter. While in the minors, the focus is often on developing the pitches, not putting them together in a way best suited to eliminating hitters. If we rely on strikeouts to gauge the ability miss bats as a proxy for the quality of the stuff, we might be getting the wrong idea in some cases. Like I said, it is a curious stat when looking at minor league pitching.
- Hudson has some highlights in the South Bend video from yesterday, but don’t ignore the work done by Duncan Robinson. Or the homer. The homer is nice, too.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.