By Nick Recchia
OF - HUDSON HEAD
PHOTO CREDIT: MARK COLLIER
The MLB June Amateur Draft has been a staple of MLB since the inaugural draft was held on June 8-9 in New York City. A chance for every team to pour over the previous years worth of scouting and relationship building into a chance to draft their next homegrown star. While many stars come from throughout the draft, there are a gluttony of them at the top with less and less the lower you go.
As we speak of the third round in particular, some teams have sparse showings while others can claim future Hall of Famers like the Padres (Tony Gwynn), Orioles (Eddie Murray), and Expos/Nat’s (Gary Carter). Some current contemporaries to strike success in the majors have been Craig Kimbrel (Braves) and JT Realmuto (Marlins) with both making multiple All Star appearances. The Padres this past June feel like they might have struck gold with the drafting of young outfielder Hudson Head.
The Padres made the largest investment in MLB Draft history for a pick in the third round with a signing bonus of $3,000,000. The Padres were evaluating him as a first round talent that slipped to the third round on two accounts. One was his strong commitment to Oklahoma and second was his lack of exposure to the summer circuits. But he burst onto the scene in a big way in 2019 with him hitting .615 for Churchill HS out of San Antonio, Texas with 13 home runs and 34 steals. His combination of speed and power were attractive tools to add to a system blessed with many other top talents.
A young outfielder who possesses the range for CF but the arm for RF gives the team a lot of choices moving forward. His arm topped out at 86 mph during stints on the mound as an amateur. While the swing was inspired by favorites growing up like Ken Griffey Jr. and Josh Hamilton. Growing up in Texas, Hudson was able to see Hamilton perform as one of the best players in baseball during his stint with the Rangers (08-12). His smooth left handed swing with quick twitch muscles supporting it is a good comp for swing path. The frames might be different with Hamilton a hulking 6’4” 240 lbs and Head a lithe yet athletic 6’1” 180 lbs but thunder is produced with superior bat speed the same. Violent collisions with baseballs are the result with a lot more speed and defense to his game.
To start his pro career, he spent the summer after signing in the AZL where he would prove his bat belonged to the tune of a line of .283/.383/.417 across 120 at bats. As evidenced, he acclimated to pro ball quickly and shined during instructs with strong performances during the Don Welke Classic that pitted Padres prospects against top prospects from the Texas Rangers organization. His quick twitch actions lead evaluators to believe he can stay in CF and could be a two way player that can impact the game in many ways.
He will be pushed aggressively up the system as the organization challenges him. A start at Fort Wayne along with fellow 2019 draftee CJ Abrams would see them as two of the youngest players to start in the Midwest League on opening day, whenever that arrives. Hudson’s talent and drive to be “the guy” is something teams want. The player that doesn’t shy away from the lights when they are the brightest. His confidence is not to be confused with cockiness but a simple belief and faith in his abilities and hunger to be great.
Longtime baseball enthusiast who tries to incorporate new age analytics into old school baseball strategy and how the two can coexist in winning harmony. Also a minor league aficionado who delves deep into the farm to share the love of the game from the lower rungs of the minor leagues and up. Always up for sports talk.