Hometown: Odessa, Florida
Born: May 21, 1991
Joe Hudson doesn’t get nearly as much love as some of the other top catchers in the 2012 draft class, but he does have one feature that will appeal to just about every team on draft day: defensive ability.
In his freshman and sophomore years, Hudson threw out a combined 37% of attempted base-stealers. Last year, he threw out 42%, one of the best numbers in the nation. This season, he’s right on pace with exactly 37.5%.
Hudson has made dramatic improvements at the plate this season, as well. Coming into 2012, he was a career .245 hitter who had one career homer and 20 RBI in 75 games. This season alone, he’s slugged three longballs and has already surpassed his career RBI total with 24 in 26 games. He doubled his career HR total by going deep twice in the Irish’s season opener.
And his .415 average, nearly double his career average coming into the season, ranks him among the top hitters-for-average in the country.
Thanks to Hudson’s offensive outburst, Notre Dame sits atop the Big East and will likely challenge for a spot in the NCAA tournament come May.
Coming out of high-school (Tampa Jesuit Prep), Hudson wasn’t exactly fawned over, but he was a decent prospect in his own right, ranking as the fifth best catching prospect in the state of Florida and the number 30 prospect overall. He was clocked as high as 88 mph off the mound by Perfect Game, who also clocked him with one of the most impressive pop-times (home plate to second base) in the country.
Due to his strong commitment to Notre Dame, as well as concerns about his offensive potential, he went undrafted.
As for Hudson’s newly discovered power, don’t forget that he slugged eight homers in 160 at-bats last summer in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, where he was named to the circuit’s All-Star squad.
Hudson has been especially hot recently, hitting .444 with three RBI and four runs in a three game set against USF back in his home state.