FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Hudson Potts was a surprise first round pick of the 2016 draft by the San Diego Padres. He signed for an even $1 million dollar signing bonus, which according to Baseball America's draft database, which was below the $2.1 million slot level.
But the infielder Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas (Dallas area) showed in the rookie level Arizona League that he could play with a slash line of.295/.335/.399. at 17.
“He was one of the youngest guys in the league and we were a bit surprised at how advanced the bat was,” said Sam Geaney, the Padres’ Director of Player Development on Potts’ AZL performance. “Another surprise was his ability to play shortstop along with doing well at second and third base.”
Potts, he changed his name from Sanchez after the draft to the one of his stepfather, briefly played with short-season Tri-City at the end of the year.
This season he is the everyday third baseman for the Low-A Fort Wayne TinCaps and has primarily played at third base. After a slow start, .224/.259/.316, he has hit much better in May at .278/.316/.417 and made his first error of the season after 37 games at the hot corner.
MadFriars: You are having a much better May than April. What was the change that helped you to get over the hump?
Hudson Potts: I didn’t really change anything in my swing, I stuck with what I was doing mechanically. I did make some mental adjustments of where I was trying to go on the field and worked on making sure that I was seeing the ball well and staying through my swing.
That is a very mature approach. Usually you have to wait until someone advances to the Double-A level to get that type of response.
Typically guys at your level are taking an extra 100 swings or spending another hour in the weight room.
Hudson Potts: I was struggling some at the beginning but I wasn’t too stressed about it. It’s a long season and I knew eventually it would play out.
In the AZL they moved you around quite a bit, you played some shortstop, second and third base. This year they have had you mainly at third, which I assume is the first time in your life.
How has that been going?
Hudson Potts: It’s good and I’m learning every day. There is a lot more to be aware of than I originally thought, but I’m enjoying it.
I can imagine now you are playing in a league with wooden bats and have to play in occasionally for the bunt, the ball comes down there pretty quick.
Hudson Potts: I’m always just working on pre-pitch stuff and reaction. You never really know what its going to be, but I’ve learned it’s always better to think it's going to come at you quick. [laughs]
You chose to come to the Padres over Texas A&M. Since talented young players like you grow up playing so much baseball was it that big of a decision?
Many top players are playing close to 70 to 80 games when you add up high school and the various travel squads.
Hudson Potts: I was probably playing close to that amount of games, but once I was picked, I knew I was going to sign. I love A&M and committed to go there after my sophomore year of high school, but the Padres gave me the right opportunity and I wasn’t going to miss out on that.
Did you play any other sports in high school?
Hudson Potts: Not in high school. In middle school, I played basketball, track and did some tennis just to mess around.
How much did getting that first part of your career underway in the AZL help your offseason preparation?
Hudson Potts: There was a lot of free time in the AZL initially, but you also learn what to do. The offseason I learned to cook somethings from my Mom, so that is helping now too.
What was the biggest adjustment you made when becoming a pro, both on the field and off the field?
Other than doing your own laundry?
Hudson Potts: [laughs] I still need to get better at that. Just learning more about yourself and what you need to do. You start to learn what you can and can’t eat, how to get your rest and how to prepare for games.
Growing up this is what I always wanted to do and it’s up to me to make the best of it.
The Padres preach selectivity, that is the one part of your game that has not been great that you want to get better. How do you work on that?
Hudson Potts: I’ve always been an aggressive hitter in the zone. There are some guys that like to hit in later counts, but that isn’t me.
You hit the first four-seamer that you see.
Hudson Potts: Exactly, but I also think with more at-bats I will start to shrink my zone a little more.
It’s all about just getting more experience.