JUPITER, Fla. — Royals Scout Team righthander Dakota Hudson from Sequatchie Country High in Dunlap, Tenn., interests scouts because of his size, stuff and relative inexperience.
Throwing into a heavy wind, Hudson sat in the 87-89 mph range and topped out at 91. He mixed in 76-78 mph breaking ball that he calls a slider, but breaks more like a downer curveball and flashes hard, late action. He also threw a couple 81 mph changeups. Mostly, though, Hudson threw fastballs. He threw about 45 pitches over his three-inning stint and only seven of those pitches were of the offspeed variety.
“My two-seam (fastball) was moving real well,” Hudson said. “My offspeed was moving too, I just couldn’t throw it for a strike . . . At my school, they preach a whole lot about spotting up your fastball. So, if you can go off your fastball, you can be successful any game.”
Over those three shutout innings, Hudson didn’t give up a hit, walked two and struck out five.
Hudson is a good athlete and stands 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds. He grew up playing catcher before he got too tall and moved to the mound as a freshman in high school. He first touched 90 mph last fall and didn’t start throwing a breaking ball until last summer. In the offseason, the Mississippi State recruit plays basketball and shows some agility for his size.
Hudson strides a little open in his delivery, which causes his arm to drag at times and he frequently misses to his arm side. If he can get a little bit more in-line to the plate and continue to add strength, Hudson could have some helium this spring.
“Being from a small town in Tennessee, you don’t get to see guys like this every day,” Hudson said. “So I just try to take advantage of whatever I can.”
Pitching on the showcase circuit this summer and fall has certainly helped Hudson gain experience of pitching to premium hitters.
“They just make me pay for any mistake I make,” Hudson said. “Facing these guys has taught me a lot about location and how much more important that is. Really, I just now started throwing hard, so that’s been kind of a big thing I’ve had to learn.”