"As everybody has probably seen and everybody probably knows I don't hit to many," Hudson joked.
Actually, in his five-year career, he has exactly zero. But anybody that knows Hudson and his style of play knows that the amount of home runs he hits makes no difference on his effectiveness.
The 5-11, 175-pound outfielder plays a much different, seldom-seen brand of baseball. He plays a speed game, and many times a mind game.
But it is much more complicated than just reaching base and running on the first pitch. It requires a more keen understanding of the minute details
"That's the biggest thing people don't realize, Hudson said. "If people see that you are fast they think you should be able to steal bases. But it really is [a mind game]. The pitcher is doing all kinds of different things they might not do that to the fourth hitter in the lineup [when he is on base], but they are going to be paying attention to me when I'm over there."
"A lot more fastballs are going to come [to the hitter]. They are not going to want to throw too may offspeed pitches to let me get a couple extra steps. It takes a lot to be able to steal a base at this level."
He is right. One of those minute details that has taken some time for Hudson to get accustomed to is being able to read the pitcher. It is something that the non fleet of foot might not pay any attention to, but it is something Hudson has to perfect.
From 2009 through 2011, Hudson had at least 30 stolen bases each season and topped 40 twice. In 2012 between Durham and Lehigh Valley he has 19, with about a month left to play. Part of the reason is certainly due to the fact that Lehigh Valley's bottom of the order gets on base so much that it literally prevents Hudson from having a base to steal, but Hudson is the first to admit he simply needs more practice.
"I've been working a lot on my starts. I struggled the first part of the season getting good jumps off the pitchers and that's something fundamentally I have to work on. I feel like I'm getting better at that right now and just trying to work as hard as I can so when I do get on base, I do have the opportunity to run," Hudson said.
Yet despite the lower stolen base totals, Hudson has certainly increased his knowledge of situational baseball, and when it is appropriate to run. As a young kid, deciding when to turn on the jets was something he struggled with.
"Early in my career I just ran whenever I got on base and I wanted to run," Hudson explained. "I kind of learned coming up and maturing as a player that you want run in certain situations and you want leave the hole open in certain situations where a lefthander can pull one in the hole. You don't want to run yourself into an out by just being stupid and going out there and just wanting to get a stolen base."
Hudson's speed comes in handy before he reaches base as well, but only if he lets it. With the kind of speed Hudson has, a routine groundball can turn into a hit if the fielder takes an extra second or bobble. But in order to hit a ground ball the batter has to make contact, which is something Hudson also struggled with early in his career.
In 2009 between the Delmarva Shorebirds and Frederick Keys, Hudson struck out 91 times in just over 120 games. In 2010 with Frederick that increased to 130 strike outs in 136 games. But this year he only has 57 strikeouts in 82 games at a Triple-A level.
"That's a big thing for me because early in my career I struck out a lot," Hudson said. Putting the ball in play I have the opportunity to beat it out and I've had my fair share of little choppers that I've beat out so I think that's a really important thing for me to do is strike out as little as possible."
Making contact goes hand in hand with something else Hudson has needed to do more this year, which is to be aggressive at the plate. A lot of times a leadoff hitter will find himself at the plate with nobody on base, in which case he needs to be patient and work the count. But since the bottom of the order has been getting on so much for Lehigh Valley, Hudson finds himself with RBI opportunities as well. The whole complexion of his at bat has to change in that situation.
"I have to be a little bit more aggressive early in the count. I think there was an at bat there where I got up 2-0 in the count and took a fastball right down the middle and Ryne [Sandberg] and Sal [Rende] pulled me aside and said, 'You are an RBI guy right there and you need to be aggressive'... I have to get better at that but I feel like I've done a pretty good job with guys on base and guys in scoring position so far," Hudson said.
Good would be an understatement. Hudson is hitting .263 this season but with runners in scoring position his average balloons up to .462. With runners in scoring position and two outs it is an eye popping .500. It is easy to see he makes the most of his RBI opportunities.
But despite the fact that Hudson finds himself in more RBI spots this year, his strength is his speed, and he does not stray far from it. It may be impossible to teach, but it sure is possible to practice it and improve, and that is what Hudson does each offseason.
As a former wide receiver at the University of Illinois, Hudson had some of the most grueling and effective agility and speed workouts that a player can have. They have helped him so much on the base paths with explosiveness and in the outfield with agility that he goes back to work out with the strength and conditioning coach at University of Illinois each offseason.
"I do a lot of football agility drills... He takes me out with all the pre-NFL draft guys and I do all the work they do so that's really helped me out with being able to get good jumps in the outfield and being able to go get the ball at times," Hudson said.
"One thing they teach in football, you have to get your head around before the rest of your body because that will bring your body with you. I think that's huge in baseball. Just the other day I opened the wrong way and got my head turned real fast and got a pretty good beat on the ball."
It may not be as common as it was in the earlier history of the game, but it is certainly evident how Hudson thrives on his use of speed at the plate, on the bases and in the field.
Not that he doesn't want that first professional home run; it just is not his priority. Not an over the fence homer at least.
"I think I would take [an inside the park home run] before I take an outside the park," Hudson said with a smile.
That would suit him perfectly.