At the beginning of the year, Hudson found himself the odd man out of the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation for 2023. He was instead sent down to AAA to regain his velocity and work on his control. Let’s take a look at how his season has gone by evaluating his stats and his Baseball Savant page.
"We believe there's a path forward, but the big leagues isn't the level to build that [velocity] up."- Oliver Marmol
How is Dakota Hudson doing this year?
Through 33.1 innings spread across eight starts, Hudson has pitched to a 4.86 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP. He has given up an average of thirteen hits per nine innings and has walked three batters per nine innings. His strikeout numbers (7 Ks/9 innings) are par for his career. He has done a good job limiting home runs this season thus far. Keep in mind with his relatively high walk numbers that walks all throughout AAA are high this year due to the automated strike zone.
Hudson spent about a month on the IL with a neck injury in mid-April. He has pitched in four games since, throwing 15 innings total and giving up seven earned runs in those four starts total. Before he went down with the injury, Hudson had pitched 18 innings over 4 starts and scattered 11 runs over those starts. He had one fantastic start (6 IP, 8 hits, no runs or walks, with 7 Ks) and one very bad start (2.2 innings, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 HB, and only 1 K). His other two starts before the injury were adequate. Since his injuries, he has pitched a little better, limiting runs and lowering his ERA. He has not gone over five innings since his return on May 21st.
Hudson mostly struggles against left-handed batters. They have hit two home runs off of him and are batting .408 against him. He has, however, only walked one lefty, which is encouraging. The second time through the lineup has been killer for Dakota, as he has a whopping 9.53 ERA in the third inning and 6.75 in the fourth inning, both innings where the top half of the lineup is about guaranteed to get a second look at the pitcher.
His Baseball Savant numbers aren’t exactly inspiring either. He does a good job at limiting barrels, but Hudson struggles heavily with strikeouts, velocity (his goal for being in AAA), and handling lefties as a whole.
One would hope for Hudson to show improvement in his velocity and location, specifically against lefties. If he can show improvement in his next 5-7 starts, it is possible that we see him come up to start in the majors should an injury arise in the rotation or the team trade away a starter at the deadline.