Cards ink Hudson, last of first-round Draft picks

Righty to start career in GCL; club also signs 18th-rounder Sexton, 36th-rounder Gordon

Cards ink Hudson, last of first-round Draft picks

The Cardinals have signed the last of their first-round picks from the 2016 Draft, Mississippi State right-hander Dakota Hudson, the team announced on Saturday. Hudson signed for $2 million, according to MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis, and the slot value for the pick was $1,878,000.

"I'm ready to start my pro career and get everything going," Hudson said. "I'm excited and just at a loss for words."

Cardinals Draft Tracker

The 6-foot-5 junior was the No. 34 overall pick in the Draft, and MLBPipeline.com had rated Hudson as the 15th-best Draft prospect. Hudson fronted the Bulldogs' rotation this season, posting a 2.55 ERA in 17 starts and striking out 115 batters in 113 innings as Mississippi State advanced to the NCAA Tournament Super Regional.

Hudson will start his career with the Cardinals in the Gulf Coast League. He'll remain on the the starter track with his pitch counts, according to scouting director Randy Flores, but the organization will be cautious given the amount of pitches he has already thrown this year.

"His workload will be monitored to make sure he doesn't overextend himself," Flores said. "It was an intentional decision made to not send him to Johnson City or State College so that his workload can be minimized."

Hudson's fastball sits in the mid-90s and reaches 97 mph, and it might not even be his best pitch -- he also throws a slider/cutter that he can throw in the upper 80s with a slider break. He has a high aptitude for the game and a heightened level of self-awareness for his body, according to Flores.

"We'll see if he's leaning too far toward self-aware and just need to see his athleticism come out, or if it's the great blend we think it is," Flores said. "When he's timed up and going good, he gets all that length and leverage. He's really able to sink and cut the ball."

The Cardinals also signed 18th-round pick Austin Sexton and 36th-round pick Robbie Gordon, both right-handers. Sexton was a teammate of Hudson's at MSU, and Gordon is a St. Louis product from Maryville University and Ladue High School. 

"Our St. Louis metro scout raved about him, and there was a fit for us at the right spot," Flores said. "He's got a great chance with us."

The Cardinals had already signed their two other first-round Draft picks, Puerto Rican shortstop Delvin Perez (23rd overall) and California high school outfielder Dylan Carlson (33rd overall). St. Louis has now signed 27 of its 42 Draft picks, including 10 of the 12 selected in the top 10 rounds.

"I anticipate the pace [of signings] staying at the clip that it is," Flores said. "It's going to be really fun now, as hard as the work was up to this point, it's going to be an added new dimension of following their box scores every day."

Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.