St. Louis Cardinals: 3 players fighting for their careers in Spring Training

Dakota Hudson
Dakota Hudson / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages
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The Cardinals have players with a little extra incentive to show what improvements they made in the offseason.

The Cardinals have several players that have recently struggled big-time. They are not playing to the level the Cardinals organization knows is possible. They are playing to a level that is frustrating to fans. While they have worked hard to improve this offseason, it may not be enough.

They are playing for their careers this spring.

Dakota Hudson hopes teachings from new pitching coach help him excel

This offseason has brought a new mindset and a greater understanding of analytics and how they can help Dakota Hudson improve his pitches.

While he has worked more based on feeling, former pitching coach Mike Maddux tried to show him how he could improve using analytics. It never clicked. Hudson told Katie Woo of The Athletic that new pitching coach Dusty Blake has changed his mindset.

According to Woo, Hudson was able to better understand the analytics and data presented to him. He then applied that understanding to his mechanics. Hudson looks to earn a spot on the Cardinals' starting rotation after working this offseason with some of his new tools.

Blake introduced Hudson to an egregious camera, which is a slow-motion camera that shows grip, pitch release, and how different fingers can create different motions on the ball. The other tool was a force plate, which helped to stabilize his landing foot while building power in his back leg.

While it's going to be interesting to see how Blake's influence impacts the pitching staff in his first season, the most intriguing impact could come in the form of how Hudson puts these new teachings together.

If Hudson makes some progress this Spring using these new tools and can speed things up to keep in balance with the new pitching clock, he could become an answer to questions about the future of the pitching staff. Hudson will still be arbitration eligible in 2024 and becomes a free agent in 2025.

After a disastrous 2022 season, Hudson will be given the opportunity to show improvement. He is also probably on a short leash when it comes to how much time he will be given by manager Oli Marmol. He could quickly become a long relief pitcher.

Hudson has a lot to play for this spring. Here's hoping the improvements he's worked with this offseason help him have a successful season.