(Busch Stadium) Most of the time a player is called into the manager’s office to receive important news, but this past Wednesday night, Memphis Manager Stubby Clapp had a unique delivery for a message to Dakota Hudson.
He walked out to the mound in the top of the 2nd inning and handed the pitcher a baseball.
“At first I didn’t know what was going on, so a little bit of anger him walking out there,” shared Hudson. “The ball said ‘this is your call’ so that’s kind of how I knew. He was trying to sell it the whole time. He had me pretty fooled, to be honest.”
The St. Louis Cardinals officially announced the move this afternoon, purchasing the contract of Hudson and adding him to their 25-man roster.
“Dakota’s strength is he has the ability to get ground balls,” said Mozeliak. “The one thing we wanted to see him do this past season at Triple-A was be more efficient and he’s been able to do that. You saw his strikeout rate go up, you saw his walk rate go down, and you saw him get deeper into games.”
In 19 starts at Memphis, Hudson struck out 87 batters and allowed 38 walks in 111.2 innings pitched. His 13 wins were tops in all of minor league baseball and his 1.88 ground out/fly ball ratio ranked 2nd best in all of Triple-A.
“A lot of people have been clamoring for him over the last month or so–and I do think the people that were doing that were right,” acknowledged Mozeliak.
“He was having that kind of success. But the biggest problem for us was we had to use a roster spot. His protection year was not this year and I didn’t want it to be where we brought him up for one start and then sent him back down. I think having him up here, getting experience out of the ‘pen, will be good for him.”
Standing in front of his locker answering questions marked the first time Hudson had been in Busch Stadium since he signed his professional contract after being drafted in 2016.
“Yeah, it’s pretty big,” smiled Hudson. “I’m here, ready to go. Just a lot of emotions, just ready to get out there and play.”
“I think you really start to see it whenever you have people reach out to you a little bit,” he continued. “You have friends that you grew up with, guys that you played ball with, my brothers–who have been either worn out catching a baseball for me or hitting against me. A lot of those memories do flash up.”
Hudson was part of the starting rotation in Memphis that also opened the season with Jack Flaherty, John Gant, Austin Gomber, and Daniel Poncedeleon. All five are now on the Cardinals active roster.
“I’m friends with all the guys that have been up and down or come up, so you can’t be anything but happy for your friends,” said Hudson on being the last arrival. “I feel like there’s a comfort level for the guys that are here now that there are some guys who did start out together, but also all the older guys have kind fo accepted us into the locker room. So, I’m looking forward to getting to be a part of that.”
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com