Jul 16th, 2009
FS Interview: Dan Hudson
What has the White Sox organization told you about your timetable? Were you expected to move up from Kannapolis all the way to Birmingham like you have thus far?
I don’t really think there is any specific timetable with me but I really wasn’t expecting to be called up to B-Ham this year. Not because I didn’t think I wasn’t ready for the moves, but because I was already one of the younger guys on Winston’s staff so I figured I was a little lower on the totem pole then the older guys that were there. But jumping to Birmingham from K-Town was definitely a surprise to me but I’ll take it!
What has been the biggest difference between A ball hitters and AA hitters? What has been the thing you needed to work on most when moving up leagues?
The biggest difference I have noticed between A ball and AA hitters is definitely the patience at the plate. AA hitters don’t chase bad pitches a lot of the time like a lot of the more undisciplined A ball hitters do. I had to learn and am still in the process of learning how to be more effective within the strike zone while still not throwing too many good pitches to hit.
In 2008 you were drafted with fellow college teammate Dexter Carter. How have the two of you adjusted from the jump of college to rookie ball? Has the familiarity of being drafted with a college teammate helped with your progress?
Dex and I are good friends and still keep up with each other frequently even though he is still in K-Town. Being drafted together and assigned to the same team definitely helped the transition from college to pro ball because the game can get pretty individualized especially in the lower levels because everyone wants to move up before the other guy. It’s good to have someone there rooting for you and vice-versa. Personally I don’t know why he is still in k-town because he seems to be dominating that league with the k’s. The only thing I could guess is that they want to keep him a starter and his change up is still sort of a work in progress.
Judging by your numbers in college, it looked like you had mixed results. How has the White Sox organization helped you in becoming a more consistent pitcher?
Yeah my junior year was terrible. Haha. I really couldn’t have had a worse year in my draft year I don’t think. It all worked out though by slipping to the Sox. I really click with the pitching coaches in the organization and they are getting me to work over the ball a lot better and get downhill more consistently. My arm angle tends to drop sometimes and my stuff will really flatten out in the zone. When I get over the ball really well everything I throw has hard downward movement.
No one really knows what your breaking pitch is and there have been reports saying it’s a curve and others saying its a slider. So, what is your breaking pitch?
I throw both a slider and a curveball, but I really haven’t had the feel for my curveball in a long time for some reason so I have been throwing a lot more sliders. The curveball has been coming along recently though. Its definitely not a put away pitch, but more of a get-me-over a couple times in a game type pitch.
We’ve had a report saying you topped out at 98 in Birmingham. Does that sound right to you? Has your velocity increased in the past year+ since college? Where does your fastball usually sit at?
Yeah, I caught a glimpse of the scoreboard during my first outing and saw 98 up there. I don’t throw quite that hard so that gun was a little juiced that night haha. But the guys on the charts did come in and tell me I hit 96 a few times in my first outing. I don’t know what I have been at recently but I would guess I am probably in the 90-94 range.
Can you tell us some more about your pitching arsenal? What other pitches do you throw? Which pitch do you consider your out pitch?
I throw a 4-seam fastball, slider, circle change and my curve. I have confidence to throw the first three in any count to any hitter. I usually use my changeup against lefties more though because I get really good action on it down and away to them. I get them to swing over it or hit weak groundballs a lot of the time. If I had to pick one pitch in a clutch situation I would probably use my fastball. I feel like I throw hard enough to get it by a lot of hitters.
Do you consider yourself more of a finesse or a power pitcher?
I don’t think I am either a power or a finesse pitcher. I don’t really throw in the mid 90’s that often but I also don’t throw soft enough to be called a finesse pitcher either. I guess I am sort of a hybrid of the two haha. I usually get a good amount of groundballs every game but I also get a lot of strikeouts. I locate most of my pitches a lot of the time but also feel I can blow it by you if I need to.
Can you hit at all, or would you look clueless at bat?
I love answering this question haha. I haven’t tried recently but my senior year of high school I was second team all-state as a first baseman. I hit .400 something with 9 homeruns. For some reason my college coach never gave me a chance to take bp. We had pitcher’s bp in the Cape and I hit a few bombs in a pretty big park with wood. I’m not going to say I could still hit now, but if you gave me an at-bat tomorrow I don’t think I would look too terribly bad up there. It’s like riding a bike right?
Is there a pitcher in the MLB that you compare yourself to? Is there a certain pitcher in the MLB that you love to watch or grew up idolizing?
I don’t really compare myself to anyone pitching in the bigs, but I love watching Josh Beckett pitch. His demeanor on the mound is awesome and I like to think I have that bulldog mentality as well. There’s no one else I would rather have on the mound in a must win game than him.
Have you spent much time with White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper or some of the veteran pitchers (most notably Mark Buehrle) on the staff during Spring Training? If so, what was that like? Did they give you any advice that has helped you this season?
I haven’t really spent a lot of time with Coop or any of the guys on the big league staff. I have met Coop before and he has seen me throw but I haven’t talked to him about pitching or anything like that yet. Hopefully that will change this spring training though.
What do you think of Ozzie Guillen? Did you get to spend any time with Ozzie during Spring Training?
I think Ozzie is awesome and I can’t wait to play for him. I love playing for and watching managers who work really hard for their players whether it’s getting in the umpires face and getting tossed or sitting you down and sharing his knowledge of the game with you. I met him a couple times in spring training but never really talked to him unfortunately. I kind of just get what I need to get done, done then go about my business haha.
What was your favorite team growing up?
I was a big fan of the Braves growing up and my favorite player was Chipper Jones. They were always on tv on TBS so I would watch them everyday. I never really started following the Sox until I got drafted by them but I can tell you I already love watching the Cubs lose.
If you weren’t playing baseball, what would you be doing?
I really don’t know what I would be doing if I wasn’t playing baseball. I was a sports management major at school so it would be something in the sporting industry.
Now for the fun questions:
Favorite Athlete: Lebron James
Favorite Movie: Too Many, but #1 is probably Major League
Favorite Food: Anything with bacon on it….
Favorite Song: Figure.09 by Linkin Park (my walkout song)
Dream Vacation: Anything tropical
Best Baseball Memory: Coming back from being down 8-0 after three innings then winning 11-10 in 12 innings in the state championship my senior year. (I was intentionally walked and the guy behind me got the walkoff hit… that might help answer the hitting question… haha)
Best Prank You’ve Pulled (Or seen pulled): I put icy hot on the brim of one of my teammates hats once… he had a nice red line on his forehead for a while.
Hobby Outside of Baseball: I like to play golf even though I’m not very good. I also play video games too. I am also I big Redskins fan and watch every game in the offseason.
FutureSox.com would like to thank Dan Hudson for the interview and wish him nothing but the best of luck in his professional career.