HUDSON HEAD, CENTER FIELDER
|Born: April 8, 2001
Drafted: 3rd Round, 84th Overall, 2019 (Padres)
How Acquired: Trade (with Padres for Joe Musgrove)
High School: Winston Churchill HS (San Antonio, TX)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|A high school quarterback, Head is an excellent athlete — ambidextrous, in fact — who drew little attention as a baseball prospect until he hit .645 with 13 home runs as a senior. San Diego drafted him and paid an above-slot bonus that was a record at the time for the third round. He has plus speed and an above-average arm, and could stick in center field. He also has surprising power despite not being very big. Head had little experience against top competition and probably needs changes to his swing mechanics, making him a very high-risk prospect. He was the best prospect that the Pirates acquired when they traded Joe Musgrove.
Considering the risk factors he presented, Head had a very good debut in rookie ball. He got on base at a good rate and didn’t strike out at an alarming rate. Baseball America rated him the tenth best prospect in the Arizona League and 20th in a loaded Padres’ system.
San Diego brought Head to their training facility, but he was hampered by hamstring problems. BA rated him 19th among Padres’ prospects at mid-season, but moved him up to eighth after San Diego traded many of their prospects.
The former Florida State League, known in 2021 by the dopey name of Low A Southeast, produced some very odd statistical trends and Head was an extreme example. Mainly, walks and strikeouts were way up, and Head did a lot of both, accounting for nearly half his plate appearances. He tended to take a lot of pitches, which got him a lot of walks but also a lot of two-strike counts. He also seemed to struggle at times with the changes in the strike zone produced by the automated ball/strike system used in some games at the Marauders’ home park. Despite the low average, though, Head’s OPS was well above the league average. He was tied with teammate Endy Rodriguez for third in the league in home runs and, among qualifiers, was ninth in both OBP and slugging. He was also second in the league in runs. Head struggled very badly against LHPs, batting 097/244/236, while hitting 243/391/435 against RHPs. He also had an OPS at home that was 200 points above his OPS on the road. Defensively, he primarily played right and center, and saw some time in left. He showed good range in the field.
Head continued the pattern with the new front office of focusing on lower-level prospects with high ceilings. His strikeout problem at Bradenton obviously is reason for concern, but overall he was a productive hitter. It’ll be helpful to see him outside of the anomalous environment that prevailed in the Low A Southeast in 2021.
|2022: Major League Minimum
|Signing Bonus: $3,000,000
MiLB Debut: 2019
MiLB FA Eligible: 2025
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2023
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 4, 2019: Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 3rd round, 84th overall pick; signed on June 18.
January 18, 2021: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Omar Cruz, Drake Fellows and David Bednar to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Joe Musgrove in a three-team deal; Endy Rodriguez sent from the New York Mets to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Joey Lucchesi sent from the San Diego Padres to the New York Mets.