White Sox top prospect Dan Hudson and 2009 second round draft pick David Holmberg have been traded to Arizona for starting pitcher Edwin Jackson. Hudson being traded is less than a surprise, but Holmberg's name had not come up much. In our recently released midseason top 25 prospect rankings, Hudson was No. 1 while Holmberg was 17.
By now, you've probably heard the story about Hudson. He was drafted in 2008 and pitched in five levels last year, including some work with the Sox in September. This year he was 11-4 with a 3.47 ERA in AAA. He struck out 108 and walked 31 in 93.1 innings. He made three starts with the Sox after Jake Peavy went down and went 1-1 with a 6.32 ERA.
In his prospect profile we said he projected as a #3 starter. Here is our scouting report:
Hudson was a potential first round pick in 2008 after posting a 3.33 ERA
with 55 strikeouts in 46 innings in the prestigious Cape Cod League in
2007, but a mediocre junior season forced
him to slip to the 5th round. In college, his fastball was in the high
80s and multiple scouts were saying he projected as a middle reliever.
He had command issues and struggled against left-handed bats. As a pro,
he made incredible strides. He blew through the minors in 2009 and
made his Major League debut in his first full professional season. He
has been as tough on lefties as
righties and his control has been much improved. His 4-seam fastball
currently sits in the 91-94 range, the bump in velocity is due to tweaks
in his delivery, and he gets good life on it. His above average slider
is his strikeout pitch and it has looked like a plus pitch at times.
Hudson also throws an average circle change and a curveball he admits is
only a get-me-over pitch. He uses a 3/4 arm angle.
Holmberg was a rare high school pitcher drafted early by the White Sox. He made a promising professional debut last year in Bristol with 37 strikeouts and 18 walks in 40 innings for a 4.73 ERA. This year the Sox stayed cautious with him and assigned him to Great Falls of the Pioneer League. In eight starts he was mostly strong with 29 strikeouts and 9 walks in 40.1 innings for a 4.46 ERA. He was named the league's pitcher of the week a few days ago for a 7 shutout inning performance, but was shelled last night (7 R in 2 IP). We ranked him 12 in our preseason top 25, but dropped him to 17 in the midseason list.
Here is our scouting report of Holmberg:
Holmberg, like almost all pitchers drafted out of high school, is a
project. He currently throws in the high 80s, but projects to fill out
and add velocity. His secondary stuff is currently ahead of his
fastball. He throws an above-average 12-to-6 curveball and a changeup
that looks like a plus pitch at times. He also throws a slider.
Considering he has good secondary stuff and the ability to change speeds
well he projects as a starter long-term even though the White Sox
started him out of the pen and limited his innings in 2009. Holmberg is
important to the White Sox system because after the Jake Peavy deal,
lefties are in short supply in the minors.
As noted in the scouting report, lefties are thin in the White Sox system. Holmberg and 2010 first round pick Chris Sale were the only left-handed pitchers that made our top 25 list.