Dakota Hudson bursts onto the scene

In two seasons at Mississippi State, Dakota Hudson was a relatively unknown player. Pitching in only 34 innings in his first two years, Hudson was hardly on scouts’ radar as an early round pick in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.

But, after a breakout summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League, Hudson is now receiving attention from professional scouts.

“Them giving me the time to go out there and perform really opened everything up for me,” Hudson said of his experience playing in the Cape. “Honestly, I don’t know where I’d be if I couldn’t have participated in that league.”

In 13 games as a starter and a reliever, Hudson went 4-3 with a 1.43 ERA, striking out 54 batters and walking 14 in 56 2/3 innings in the Cape Code League.

After working on improving his arm strength this past offseason, Hudson will attempt to put together a strong junior season as a member of Mississippi State’s starting rotation.

Hudson was also named a team captain for the 2016 season.

“To be able to come here and see all the guys and then being recognized, as a leader just is everything to me,” Hudson said. “These guys mean a lot to me.”

If Hudson can carry over the success he had this past summer into this season, he has a strong chance of being selected in the first two rounds of June’s MLB Draft.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” Hudson said on the draft. “When it comes to it, I’m going to get out there and play and do my best and compete for my team. Whatever happens happens. I’m not just giving up any sort of way.”

Hudson is currently ranked 33rd on MLB.com’s preseason top 50-draft prospects list and 20th on Baseball America’s preseason top 100-college draft prospects list.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound right-hander has come a long way after being a 36th round pick by the Texas Rangers out of high school. Hudson has developed in his first two college seasons and is now one of the more intriguing pitchers in this year’s draft class.

Hudson possesses a solid four-pitch mix, featuring a nasty slider/cutter and a mid-90s fastball. He also throws a curveball and changeup, which are both respectable offerings.

Consistency and command are two major areas Hudson needs to succeed in this season, due to his lack of track record in college, in order for him to reach his dream and goal of playing professional baseball.

“That would mean everything,” Hudson said on potentially being a pro pitcher. “Being able to come from a small town to Mississippi State and to go through the whole process. Then to end up in the big leagues or pro ball it would be awesome.”

Despite his excitement and desire to eventually play professionally, Hudson said he is only worried about his team and the season ahead as of right now.

Mississippi State is coming off a down year in which they went 24-30 overall and 8-22 in conference play. But, the Bulldogs are ranked 20th in Baseball America’s preseason top 25.

Hudson also said his team has high expectations for themselves this season and that it’s just a matter of people stepping up in order for them to accomplish their goals.

“We expect nothing but greatness this year,” Hudson said. “We have a lot of energy and we’re all so motivated to get going. We will be a contender at the end of the year and that’s the goal for the entire team.”

You can find more MLB Draft coverage here.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski IIIhttp://BaseballProspectJournal.com
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on The3rdManIn.com, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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