Looking back at the Cardinals' 10 most disappointing prospects of the past decade

Many St. Louis Cardinals fans have a propensity to overhype prospects. These 10 players indicate that it's often best to keep expectations measured.
St. Louis Cardinals v Baltimore Orioles
St. Louis Cardinals v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
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8. Dakota Hudson

Dakota Hudson was the epitome of the Cardinals' ground ball-oriented pitching philosophy throughout the 2010s. Taken out of Mississippi State with the 34th overall pick in 2016, the right-hander was seen as a pitcher with a strong sinker and slider but who needed to work on his command. In 2019, he was the Cardinals' third-ranked prospect.

The concerns about his ability to locate his pitches were well founded in pro ball. Despite a strong season out of the bullpen during his rookie year in 2018, where he had a 2.63 ERA, Hudson walked 18 batters in 27.1 innings. In 2019, he was named the Cardinals' fifth starter and proceeded to lead the major leagues in walks, with 86, although he also allowed the league's highest percentage of ground balls (56.9%) and the lowest percentage of fly balls (21.3%).

After undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of 2020, Hudson missed nearly all of 2021. In 2022, Hudson held a 4.45 ERA in 27 games, 26 of them starts, and he had the major leagues' lowest strikeout-to-walk ratio, at 1.3.

The Cardinals sent Hudson to Memphis at the start of the 2023 season in an attempt to coax more velocity out of him, but after a 6.00 ERA there and a 4.98 ERA in the major leagues when filling in for injured starters, the Cardinals let Hudson walk in free agency.

Hudson signed with the Colorado Rockies for the 2024 season, the Rockies likely hoping that his sinker would play well in the high altitude, but he currently leads the National League in losses and walks.

Just getting to the major leagues is an accomplishment for many players, but the Cardinals clearly had higher hopes for a first-round pick than him turning out to be one of the worst starting pitchers in the major leagues.