When the San Diego Padres signed Manny Machado to a ten-year deal, Hudson Potts was suddenly a man without a future in the organization. The infielder is taking the addition in stride and embracing the new challenges that are ahead.
As with every move the major league club makes, the acquisition of four-time all-star and platinum glove winning third baseman Manny Machado sent ripples through the Padres’ organization changing the future of a lot of individuals with one signature.
The San Diego Padres locked up the future at third base when the marquee free agent inked his 10-year/$300 million deal. You also don’t have to worry about the future at shortstop either with phenom Fernando Tatis Jr. patrolling the San Diego infield. So this leaves the question of where would 2016 first round pick Hudson Potts play for the Padres?
Well if you ask him, where doesn’t matter, “Whatever they want me to do, I am willing to do it, and I will work as hard as I can to do what they want. I just have to play my game,” Potts told EVT. He has played multiple positions already for the Sod Poodles, spending most of his time at third base, while twice this year playing second. It wouldn’t be the first time that Potts has change positions for the Padres, as he was drafted with the 24th overall pick out of Southlake Carroll High School in the Dallas area where he played shortstop for the Dragons.
After his second full season last year in the system, Potts finished in Double-A San Antonio where he was almost four years younger than his fellow Texas League occupants.
Potts is a 20-year-old playing in his third full season in the organization, this time in Amarillo. The Texas League average age amongst position players is 23.8 years old. With someone who is this young, you would expect growing pains and Potts has noticed a jump in the competition at his current level. “You know it’s more advanced, you have guys with a lot of experience. It’s the highest level I’ve been so far, and there’s definitely some good talent here,” Potts said. Padres fans are witnessing the meteoric rise of Fernando Tatis Jr. who has made it to the majors as a 20-year-old and already making an impact on the big club. Despite not being as quick as Tatis in terms of growth, Potts is still ahead of schedule as far as the timeline is concerned.
Even while struggling thus far in Double-A and even in San Antonio last year, Potts has made an impression on the people around him. “The kid is a beast. A great player, even better person,” Amarillo first basemen Brad Zunica said. “I love the way he goes about his business, always level headed. Poised beyond his years.”
Zunica isn’t the only one who has seen potential in the former first-round pick, “You know- when he stays in the zone he’s very dangerous, and when he chases pitches, he’s just an ordinary hitter. And that’s part of the deal; he is going to have to learn he’s a very good hitter when he takes his walks when he stays in the zone,” Sod Poodles manager Phillip Wellman explained. “His best at-bat tonight or one of his best at-bats tonight, he took a couple of pitches, and he got to 2-0. He then laced the double off the wall, and the next at-bat he stayed in the zone, and he walked,” said Wellman. To say Potts has struggled after getting behind in the count would be an understatement, as he is 0-for-13 after falling behind and doesn’t have a walk in any of those at-bats.
During the summer Potts had a chance to fine-tune some of the tools that he already possesses. If you ask him what the biggest difference between this year and the last is, there isn’t a whole lot. “Nothing drastic, no crazy changes, just continued to work on my swing. I tried to tweak things that will make me more consistent this year. A lot of different work as far as defense and hitting are concerned. Really just trying to tone on small details that can help me throughout the long run.” Potts said. The Padres saw enough potential in the infielder to invite him to the Major League club’s Spring Training to see him up close and personal.
Struggling at the plate this spring didn’t stop him from taking advantage of the opportunity. “You try to learn as much as you can throughout the whole time there. So every day I was learning something from whoever I was around and just listening to what they talked about whether it was certain scenarios or certain situations. There was a lot of learning going on,” Potts stated.
As for those struggles Potts isn’t too concerned about this slow start, “You can’t really think about it especially this early in the season. Can’t look too much at that. All you can do is stay within yourself. Everyone knows what our goal is and that’s to get on base and get the next guy up,” Potts said.