LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. — Since being drafted in 2016, it appeared that both fans and scouts have viewed Hudson Potts as a “yeah, but…” The general consensus was that the organization could have selected someone else, or he would have been available in later rounds.
Some of the doubts began to subside In 2017 when he was the only 17-year-old US- born player in the short-season Arizona League and posted a slash line .295/.333/.399. In 2017, on the back of a very big second half in the Low-A Midwest League, he hit .278/.325/.512 with 20 home runs, the third most in TinCaps’ team history.
Now in his third season in the Padres’ organization, Potts has continued his progress and was among the league leaders in doubles, RBI, slugging percentage, and a Cal League All-Star before being promoted to Double-A San Antonio on August 9.
We caught up with Hudson Potts the day before the Texas native was promoted on what now looks like a steal in the draft.
MadFriars: For most players, there is an adjustment period every year as they adjust to a new level, but you seemed unfazed by the Cal League, posting an OPS over .770 in every month this year.
How has the new league treated you?
Hudson Potts: I really like the Cal League, it’s a lot cooler being in California. It is the same game of baseball, and you have to expect the competition to get better as you do.
Is there something, in particular, you have been working on this year with the coaches either offensively or defensively?
Hudson Potts: Pretty much everything all the time. Awareness of all aspects of the game and getting quicker to the ball both at the plate and in the field.
Defensively, how have you felt this year playing primarily only third base?
Hudson Potts: It’s been great, only focusing on one position has really helped me key into what I need to improve on.
Last year I had some problems getting reads on balls. At third the ball jumps at you really quick, and a split second can make the difference between an out and a hit. This time I am getting a lot more of the reads correctly. I think repetition plus constantly working on it in the offseason and spring training has really helped. It is now more of a reaction instead of having to think about which way to go.
Is third base your position of choice?
Hudson Potts: Yeah, I mean it is good to be athletic and be able to move around the diamond. The goal is to make it to the big leagues and I will play any position to get that, but I really like third base. It is the position I feel most comfortable in now and I want to do my best every day.
How much attention do you pay to National Media? At the end of May there were a few comments made about your approach at the plate, and almost instantly you went on a tear and haven’t looked back. Since the comment, you have a .940 OPS with more walks, fewer strikeouts, and more power.
Coincidence or did you take it to heart?
Hudson Potts: Honestly, I don’t pay attention to any media. I’ve been just trying to look for a particular pitch and trying to be as aggressive as possible at it. The coaches have really helped me be more selective at the plate, and recognize my pitch in my zone. If I don’t get it, be content taking the walk.
The coaches have also helped me do my homework on the pitcher. This year I’ve really worked with the coaches on what the days starting pitcher is going to throw, and already have a game plan in my head of what I am looking for before my first at-bat.
How has your pregame routine changed?
Hudson Potts: I think really it has improved a lot this year. I used to go into the game just knowing what pitches he threw and would make adjustments mid-at-bat. Now, I am watching video pregame, I know what he throws, how he throws it, and can even tell you how often they are throwing a pitch. If I know they throw ninety percent fastballs the first time through the order, I am going to sit on a fastball. That awareness has really helped.
Do you ever watch film of yourself?
Hudson Potts: Yes, all the time. We record our batting sessions and will go over them with the hitting coach. He will tell us if we are opening up too early, or if our swing is getting too long. I think it is one thing to be told that, but it’s not like you are doing it on purpose. It is another thing to see how your swing has changed when you’re going well versus when you are slumping and be able to realize it has changed.
Do you have any goals this year?
Hudson Potts: Just stay healthy. I never make number goals for the season, but I just want to do my best to improve and help my team finish the season strong.