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.
At Greensboro, Head had pretty much the same season as the one before: a good (but somewhat lower) walk rate, far too many strikeouts, and some power. He did finish strongly after going 10-for-70 in June. He had an .805 OPS in July and .921 in August. LHPs were a big problem, as Head put up just a .530 OPS against them compared to .790 against RHPs. In the field he mostly played in center.
The Pirates have had a number of toolsy hitting prospects in class A who’ve struggled on offense, almost entirely due to trouble making contact. Head has struggled less than most of the others, but he still needs to make considerable progress. He should be at Altoona in 2023.
|2023: Minor League Salary
|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.