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Dakota Hudson

Cardinals pitching prospect Dakota Hudson. (OzarkSportsZone.com photo via Twitter.com)

Bats / Throws: Right / Right

Height: 6-5 ... Age: 23

Acquired: Drafted, 34th overall (1st round), in 2016.

In 2017: 10-5, 3.01 ERA, 25 games (25 starts), 152 2/3 IP, 96 Ks, 49 BB at Class AA and Class AAA.

Baseball America ranking: No. 9

MLB.com ranking: No. 8

Scouting Report: In his first full season as a pro, Hudson excelled at Class AA and reached Triple-A Memphis to be a part of the Redbirds run. With a 9-4 record and a 2.53 ERA in 18 games (all starts) for Double-A Springfield, Hudson won the Texas League Pitcher of the Year Award, and few arms in the system have been as consistently lauded for being as consistent as Hudson. Some evaluators saw him as a quick-rising reliever who could have contributed in the majors this past year, and others see his absurd groundball rate and recognize him as a Lance Lynn-like presence for the rotation. Hudson coaxed two groundouts for every one flyout this past season. (In an eight-game cameo at High-A in 2016 he got 16 groundouts for every flyout, and only pitched 9 1/3 innings, or 28 outs, 10 of which were strikeouts.) Hudson’s fastball goes 94-95 mph, and he has more horsepower if needed. His breaking ball, often referred to as a slider, is one of the best in the organization. If the Cardinals are able to get the relievers they desire this winter, Hudson will open the season in the Class AAA Memphis rotation and be on call, if needed, like Jack Flaherty or Mike Mayers were in 2017.

ETA in majors: 2018