Top 10 Stories of 2015: No. 4 The Rise of Bryan Hudson in 2015

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

Over the next few weeks, in addition to highlighting the Top 10 Player Profiles of 2015, we will also highlight the Top 10 Stories in Illinois high school baseball during the 2015 calendar year.

Today, the No. 4 story on the list is: The Rise of Bryan Hudson in 2015

6-foot-8 LHP Bryan Hudson (Alton HS, 2015) burst onto the national scene in 2015. This spring Hudson arguably rose more than any other high school prospect in the Midwest and signed with the Chicago Cubs after being selected in the third round of the MLB Draft. Hudson became a must see for MLB scouts this spring after reports began to surface that he was sitting 90-93 mph with his fastball. He also flashed a wipeout breaking ball to go along with his plus frame and low 90’s fastball. His performance this spring led to him being selected as the 2015 Prep Baseball Report Player of the Year in the state of Illinois.

Story from June 24, 2015

2015 Illinois Player of the Year: Alton LHP Bryan Hudson

By Ryan Quigley

Alton’s Bryan Hudson is well known for his powerful left-handed arm, and perhaps one of the best prep breaking balls in the entire 2015 draft class, but his all-around performance, both on the mound and at the plate, has earned the Chicago Cubs draft pick the 2015 Prep Baseball Report Player of the Year Award.

Hudson played his high school ball just 25 miles north of St. Louis. In fact, the Alton Redbirds have a set of uniforms modeled after their major league local fowl favorites, the Cardinals. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound left-hander will be trading in his Birds-gear for Cubbie blue after being selected in the third round with the No. 82 overall pick in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

The talented southpaw went 10-2 this season with a 0.47 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 70.1 innings pitched, video game type numbers. Hudson also did damage at the plate, leading the Redbirds in batting average (.436), doubles (14), triples (six), home runs (four), and RBI (49).

Hudson threw one no-hitter, three one-hitters, and three two-hitters as double digit strikeout performances became the norm this spring when he took the mound. He finished ranked No. 2 in the final PBR Player Rankings in Illinois' 2015 class, and No. 21 overall. He was the first Illinois prep player off the board in this year's draft.

PBR was present for a May 14th outing against Belleville West, where Hudson threw a 13-strikeout, complete game shutout, while also going 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, walk, and RBI. What was most impressive was the way Hudson handled the scrutiny from professional scouts all season long.

“I go out and do my thing…it’s me doing me out there”, Hudson said. My team performed, they backed me up defensively on a day I didn't have my best stuff. I don’t see anyone behind the backstop. My strength when I get out there is my focus, and competing."

Several times that day Hudson allowed the leadoff hitter of the inning to reach base safely, but navigated through jams. Alton coach Todd Haug said about Hudson, “He’s able to stay so even keel, you can never tell if he’s upset. He has the ability to increase his focus with runners on base…he doesn’t throw harder or have a better breaking ball, but he has the ability to go to another level with his focus in pressure situations. His teammates love to play behind him.”

The physical stuff was some of the best from a prep left-hander in the draft; an upper 80’s to low 90’s fastball with downhill angle from his 6-foot-6 frame, and a hard breaking upper 70’s curveball that some talent evaluators felt may be one of the best breaking ball’s regardless of age in the draft.

Haug added, “looking back and reflecting on the season there’s two things that defined Bryan. One: he’s a spokesperson for multi-sport athletes in this day in age of specialization. He’s the kid that will tell you how much of his athleticism is due to hoops. And two: He’s a throwback in the sense that he’s an Alton boy and stayed an Alton boy. He didn’t play on a national travel team, he stayed local, and if you are good enough they will find you. I think both of these things were refreshing to the professional and collegiate baseball world in that it was a simple process.”

Hudson leaves Alton as the all-time leader in career innings (198), career wins (25), single-season ERA (0.47), career ERA (1.23), single season strikeouts (152), and career strikeouts (323). He’s also tied for single-season wins with 10.

His only two losses on the year came to then No. 1 Edwardsville, who spent a majority of the year ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the PBR Power 25. Hudson led Alton to a 30-7 overall record, and a No. 16 Final Ranking in the PBR Power 25.

Hudson is currently still in negotiations with the Chicago Cubs, but is set to begin his professional career shortly. If he does not sign he is set to play college baseball at Missouri.

“He was once in a lifetime, even beyond the physical abilities: the teammate, the mound presence, the pitch adjustments. We will move on and he’ll be a big advocate for Alton baseball. He’d even say some of our goals this year were left unchecked. We have a tremendous team coming back”, said Haug.

Previous Illinois Players of the Year

2014: Jake Latz, LHP, Lemont HS

2013: Ryne Roper, SS/RHP, Harrisburg HS

2012: Zack Weigel, OF/LHP, Oak Park-River Forest HS

2011: Sam Travis, 3B, Providence Catholic HS

2010: Shane Conlon, LHP/1B, Naperville Central HS

2009: Nick Tindall, C, O'Fallon HS

2008: Jake Odorizzi, RHP/SS, Highland HS

2007: Jake Smolinski, SS/RHP, Rockford Boylan HS

2006: Connor Powers, 1B. Benet Academy HS

2005: Michael Bowden, RHP/3B, Waubonsie Valley HS

Top Stories of 2015
10. Appleknockers Win First Title
9. Cooper Johnson Emerging onto a National Stage
8. St. Rita Starts the Year 25-0
7. Former IL Prep Stars Take Center Stage in 2015 MLB Draft
6. Rockford Christian Wins First State Title
5. Highland Wins Improbable 3A State Title