With so many players within the top prospects in all of major league baseball, is young third baseman Hudson Potts unheralded within the San Diego Padres’ system? He just turned 20 years old and has played above his age at every professional level. I spoke to a few of his teammates recently to learn more about the young infielder. Here is what they had to say:
It is nearly impossible to keep track of all the talent in the Padres’ farm system these days. Players are often looked over, simply because everyone is busy talking about their teammates in and around the system. With 10 prospects in the top 100 young players in all of baseball, there is every reason to be excited if you are a Padres fan.
There are just so many players who could emerge. Knowing about every one of them is a full-time job. Even with the emergence of Franmil Reyes, Joey Lucchesi, Eric Lauer, and Jose Castillo this past season, more men stepped up to fill the void on the Padres’ top 30 prospect list. The team is ridiculously deep with young players at nearly every minor league level.
There are several who are known to the national media (Fernando Tatis Jr., Francisco Mejia, and MacKenzie Gore) and several who have a cult following (Tucupita Marcano, Andres Munoz, and Owen Miller) within the fan base. But few speak of the mid-level prospects within the Padres’ system. Hudson Potts is one of the men who currently fly under the radar. He is a first-round talent that has quietly gone about his business.
The 20-year-old Hudson Potts made it all the way to Double-A San Antonio last year after a fantastic season in Lake Elsinore, where he put up a .847 OPS in 106 games and 406 at-bats for the Storm. He was also named a California League All-Star. I spoke to Hudson in Lake Elsinore before a home game in July and was left very impressed by the way he carried himself. Potts has an aura that his teammates recognize.
He struggled a bit in San Antonio last season, but at 19, it was to be expected to some degree. He struck out 33 times in 78 at-bats for the Missions, which is a concern. Obviously, this was the best pitching he has seen in his professional career, so failure was expected. His time this winter in the Arizona Fall League was another stepping stone in his growth. Potts only put up a .697 OPS in 21 games in the desert, but he once again played above his age group. He has work to do with the hit tool, but do not put it past him to improve in that area in 2019. The bat speed and ability to barrel up the baseball is something that cannot be taught.
In gathering information about Hudson Potts, there is a common theme. He is highly regarded among his peers. I spoke to some of his teammates, as I wanted to know their view of him as a baseball player and as a teammate. I first talked to Austin Allen who recently wrapped up his AFL season with Potts in Arizona. I asked Austin what his first thoughts were in seeing Hudson. “My immediate reaction to meeting Huddy is his confidence. He has this swagger about him that not many people have. It’s a quiet confidence, but when you are around those kind of people, you know it.” I got the same reaction when meeting Hudson for the first time. He oozes confidence, but at the same time, he is respectful of the game and the work he has to put in. Austin spoke a little more about his immediate thoughts of Potts. “He believes in his ability no matter what, and for him being so young and doing as well as he has done, it isn’t a surprise to me.” The young catcher certainly sees the ability in this young man and realizes that he has that “it” factor.
I also reached out to Blake Rogers, who spent time with Hudson in Lake Elsinore this season. The two were teammates on the Javelinas as well, as Rogers was summoned to Peoria midway through their season. Rogers is a relief pitcher and has the ability to watch players like Potts on a nightly basis. He certainly sees what a player of this ilk brings to a team each and every day. Here is briefly what Blake told me about the third baseman: “Everything he (Potts) does on and off the field is very advanced for his age.” The third baseman brings that stoic, business-like look with him everywhere he goes. That is rare from a young player. Blake also told me this about him: “He carries himself the right way and is really good at making adjustments at the plate.” Adjusting is the key here as Potts will only face more educated pitchers in the future – pitchers who know how to exploit a players’ weakness and take advantage of it. If a player does not make changes, they will not succeed.
As a pitcher, Rogers has a great admiration for defensive-minded players. In communicating about Potts’ defense, Blake relayed this to me: “He is very reliable at third, defensively.” Potts is a prototypical third baseman. He is tough, gritty, and strong-armed. He will reach the majors at that position one day. That is for certain.
We spoke a little bit about Potts’ future in the game to conclude. Austin told me this: “Moving forward, he’s going to be really, really good. He has so much power for being so young. When we’re taking BP, he is crushing balls and it doesn’t even look like he’s putting any effort in his swing, and that ball still jumps off of his bat.” Potts does have easy power – stuff that you cannot teach. When he barrels up a baseball, it flies. In closing, Austin left me with this about Potts: “I think what separates Huddy from a lot of people is his confidence, like I said earlier. That alone will carry him a long way (in the game). That along with his physical attributes and love for the game. He’s going to be really good.” I, too, certainly believe he will be good. Very good. Maybe even top 20 overall prospect in the game, good. Only time will tell.