Every year since 2012, we’ve spent some time after the season looking back at those that wore the Birds on the Bat. Whether it’s a bit player that got into just a couple of games or someone that played almost every day, we’ll look at their stats, their positives, their negatives, and grade them based on what we would have expected from them. The stat line is from their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers may include time with other teams, if applicable. Think of this as like the players packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. Once again, our great header work comes to us from cardinalsgifs, who continues to be a master.
Player: Dakota Hudson
Season stats: 4-1, 2.63 ERA, 26 G, 27.1 IP, 19 H, 18 BB, 19 K, 3.86 FIP, 1.354 WHIP, 6.3 K/9, 0.5 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Goat 2
Overall grade: B
Positives: Made his major league debut July 28 after Stubby Clapp notified him on the mound in his last Memphis start….started his career with 8.2 scoreless innings over six games….ended the season with 5.1 scoreless frames, though during that time 75% of inherited runners scored….limited righthanders to .406 OPS in the majors….had a .149 BAA in Busch Stadium and didn’t allow a run….leadoff hitters hit .167 in 12 plate appearances….when batters took the first pitch they managed a .508 OPS….when he was ahead in the count, batters hit .128/.150/.154….the first batter he faced had a .502 OPS….dominated with one out in an inning, limiting them to a .143 OPS….batters hit just .195 in high leverage situations….won 13 games and had a 2.50 ERA at Memphis as he became the Cardinals’ top pitching prospect….had a 1.59 ERA at AutoZone Park….was 9-3 with a 2.24 in night games at Memphis….was 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in June.
Negatives: Allowed 55% of his inherited runners to score….walked almost as many as he struck out after his call up….did not strike out a batter an inning in either AAA or the majors….lefties hit .275 against him in the bigs….had a 5.54 ERA on the road….fourth place hitters put up a 1.214 OPS….batters hit .300 when they swung at the first pitch….batters had a .733 OPS on the first pitch….with two outs, hitters posted a .772 OPS….with two outs and runners in scoring position, batters put up a .316/.500/.421 line….had a 4.63 ERA when he pitched on two days’ rest.
Overview: You could somewhat see Hudson’s 2018 like Jack Flaherty‘s 2017. They both were hyped prospects that scuffled a bit when they got the call up. Hudson probably had more success than Flaherty did last year, but he also didn’t make any starts. It was a little baffling to see Mike Shildt continue to bring in Hudson as a guy to put out fires, especially down the stretch when it felt like Hudson was completely gassed. Again, like many of the folks on the roster, going deep into a season was a new experience and it seemed to show. Overall, though, Hudson earned his way to the big leagues and you can’t fault him at all there. With the experience and a year to increase his stamina, next year could be a nice year for Hudson.
Outlook: The problem for Hudson is that the rotation feels pretty full and it’s questionable that the bullpen is a great place for him. I personally am not terribly high on Hudson but I’m also a terrible prospect guy. That said, if they can move him this offseason for some strong value, it might be the best for him. Otherwise, he’ll probably spend a significant amount of time in Memphis waiting for an opening either in the rotation or the bullpen.