Prospect Update: Has Lefty Bryan Hudson Finally Figured It Out?

Bryan Hudson is set to become a minor league free agent when this season comes to a close, but options exist to keep him a Cub. Specifically, he could be placed on the 40-man roster or he could sign what’s called a successor contract. For either of those two things to happen, the organization has to see more of the potential they saw when they took him in the third round of the 2015 draft.

The 6-foot-8 lefty came out of the gate well to start his career as he looked fine at Eugene in 2016 and was a groundball machine for South Bend in 2017. Then the trouble began at Myrtle Beach as Hudson struggled with his command and control, not uncommon for somebody tall. It was eventually revealed that he had a fractured back, which caused him to miss the last month of 2018 and most of 2019. 

The next time Hudson would play would be during instructs last fall, where he turned a lot of heads when he showed up throwing 95 mph. After sitting 89-91 previously, the jump in velo was a big deal. Hudson looked to be in good shape before the season began, so it wasn’t surprising to see him assigned to Double-A Tennessee. The only question was how he’d be deployed.

Over the month of May, Hudson was used in nearly every capacity out of the bullpen, making eight appearances and throwing 13.1 innings with eight strikeouts and a 4.73 ERA. Manager Mark Johnson needed to tinker a little to find the best role and it appears he may have done so.

Hudson thrived in June as a 1-2 inning guy, mostly in the 6th and 7th innings and pitching about every three days. At the time this post was written, Hudson had a 2.25 ERA for the month and had struck out 12 in 12 innings with a 6.2 inning scoreless streak heading.

Hudson has always been known for a curve that helps him generate grounders and keep the ball out of the air, something he’s doing at a high rate this season (4.5:1). He is also very efficient, averaging just 15 pitches per frame and walking only four total batters in June. Opponents are batting .198 against him for the year, something you’ll take from just about any pitcher.

There’s still plenty of room for improvement as he continues to adapt to this new role and settle into a routine. The Cubs are going to need to see that growth in order to make a decision with the 40-man or a new deal, but continuing on the path he’s set in June could see Hudson moving up the ladder as the year progresses.

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