The Midwest League was no challenge for 22-year old Hudson Randall. Through five starts, the former Florida Gator notched two wins, posting a 1.35 ERA over 26 2/3 innings; prompting a promotion to High-A Lakeland.
Routinely praised for plus command, Randall simply did not have his A-game Tuesday morning in his Lakeland debut. Numerous fastballs caught the heart of the plate, resulting in several hard hit foul balls and a handful of well-struck gap-shots. Failing to record a single out in the third inning, Randall was chased early after allowing eight hits (including two homers), one walk and seven earned runs.
During the outing Randall worked primarily with a mid-to-high-80s fastball (touching 88mph three times), throwing 25 of his 39-pitches for strikes. On a positive note, Randall routinely showcased his ability to manipulate the movement on his fastball; producing both sink and cut on the baseball. He also mixed in a handful of change-ups and a couple back-door sliders. Unfortunately, Randall did not move the ball around the zone very well, failing to change the eye-level of his pitches. Randall also rarely produced swing and miss stuff in the brief outing.
A lead-off homer and 2-run shot in the first inning noticeably frustrated Randall. The early damage seemed to affect Randall's composure and rhythm throughout the duration of his outing. Randall and battery-mate Patrick Leyland were also noticeably not on the same page.
A NL scout stated that Randall "looked uncomfortable from pitch number one." He further stated that he was, "not impressed," explaining "it's gonna be hard to succeed down the road without increased velocity or much better command and control."
Chiming in, a nearby AL scout laughed offering that,"[Randall] looked like he was throwing from 90 feet today."
This was Randall's first exposure to the Florida State League, however, the 22-year-old soft-tosser has his work cut out for him following this horrendous debut. As TigsTown has previously noted, without improved velocity or multiple steps forward on his command, he'll have a hard time finding sustained success.