By STEVE KRAH
The Chicago Cubs have high hopes for a player who stands high on the pitcher’s mound.
“It definitely plays a part,” says Hudson of his size. “I try to pound the zone and get weak contact.”
Mixing a curve and an inside fastball, Hudson likes to keep the ball on the ground if he can’t get a swing and miss.
“I try to get a lot of tinker ground balls that are turned into double plays or easy outs for us,” says Hudson, who is 8-3 with a 4.17 earned run average, 77 strikeouts, 50 walks in 116 2/3 innings spread over 23 games (all starts) in 2017. “I just try to keep in a good rhythm and a tempo and keep my team kind of locked in with me.”
Selected by the Chicago Cubs in the third round of the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Hudson began his professional career with five relief appearances that summer with the Arizona Cubs and helped the Eugene Emeralds win the Northwest League title with a 5-4 mark and 5.06 ERA over 13 starts in 2016.
“There’s better hitters and more players with experience,” says Hudson, who is ranked as the No. 28 prospect in the Cubs organization by MLB.com.
He is now in his third season as Cubs property. Growing up, Hudson rooted for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a standout for the Alton (Ill.) High School Redbirds and committed to play for the University of Missouri before opting to go pro instead.
Alton is a Mississippi River town located about 15 miles north of St. Louis. Southern Illinois is littered with both Cubs and Cards fanatics.
When South Bend visited Peoria in May, there were plenty of Hudson’s family and friends in attendance though he did not pitch in the series.
“I still get a little bit of trash talk when (Cubs and Cardinals are) playing each other,” says Hudson. “But, for the most part, they support, me.”
If South Bend’s schedule is not altered, Hudson’s next start is Thursday, Aug. 31 against West Michigan at Four Winds Field. It will be the next-to-last regular-season home game for the Cubs, who are still in the chase for a MWL wild-card playoff berth.
When the 2017 campaign is over, Hudson plans to head back to Alton to lift weights and get stronger for the 2018 season.
Bryan Hudson, a 6-foot-8 left-hander, is a starting pitcher for the 2017 South Bend Cubs. (South Bend Cubs Photo)