30 July 2010
On Friday, the Diamondbacks traded right-handed starter Edwin Jackson
to the White Sox for two minor leaguers - 23 year old right-hander Daniel Hudson
(Ranked #3 in the White Sox system by Baseball America) and 19 year old left-hander David Holmberg
(Ranked #8). Jackson was due to make $8.35M in 2011 and would have been a free agent after that season, so it makes sense for the Diamondbacks to trade him for younger, cheaper players. Hudson is expected to join the Diamondbacks right away, and should be the scheduled starter on Monday night.
Daniel Hudson, 6-4, 220, RHP, Age 23
Hudson was drafted in 2008 in the 5th Round out of Old Dominion University. In 2009, he pulled off the remarkable feat of pitching at five different levels, rising from A Ball to High A, AA, AAA, and the Majors all in one season. He excelled at every level of the minors in 2009, striking out over a batter per inning, and allowing very few hits, walks, or homers. Since he had only made five starts in AAA in 2009, the White Sox sent him back there in 2010, where he has spent most of this season. He was called up in July to the Majors, where he made three starts with the White Sox - one good and two mediocre.
Scouts are split on Hudson's upside in the majors. Some view him as a solid mid-rotation starter, while others think he will wind up in the bullpen. He has a naturally deceptive motion, and throws a variety of pitches. His fastball is in the 91-93 mph range, a good changeup that leads to a lot of strikeouts, and also mixes in a slider and a slow curve. A nice write-up on Hudson's stuff can be found at Project Prospect
. One potential concern about Hudson is that left-handers have been able to elevate his pitches. In 2010 at AAA, right-handed batters have hit .206 against Hudson, with a 49% Ground Ball rate and a 37% Fly Ball rate. But lefties have hit .249 with 33% GB and 36% FB rates.
David Holmberg, 6-4, 220, LHP
Holmberg was drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft out of high school in Florida. He had planned to attend the University of Florida, but decided to sign with the White Sox out of high school. He doesn't have great velocity, with a fastball sitting around 90 mph, but Holmberg has great secondary pitches for such a young player. Both his curveball and change-up are rated as plus pitches. Despite the relative lack of velocity on his fastball, his fastball has good movement. In his brief time in the minors, he has had a 2:1 GB/FB ratio.
Many scouts have raised concerns about Holmberg's conditioning, with many describing his body as "pear-shaped." But most feel that he will gain velocity as he matures, and some have compared him to a young Brett Anderson or David Wells. This year, Holmberg has been pitching in the Pioneer League for Great Falls, so the Diamondbacks have had a few chances to see him in person. He's a long way from the Majors, but shows a lot of polish for such a young pitcher.