No. 37: Hudson Randall, RHP
Hudson Randall was drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 draft by the Tigers from the University of Florida. While at Florida, Randall compiled an overall record of 28-10, with an ERA of 2.62, both stats placing him high in the Gators record books, even though he was only there for 3 seasons. After being drafted by the Tigers, Randall reported to the Rookie League GCL Tigers, where he made 7 appearances spanning 12 innings, recording an ERA of an even 3, with a WHIP of 1.17. Randall turned 22 in September, so he was a bit old for the Rookie League, but since he had just come off a successful college season and was presumably working under an innings limit, I have no issue with the assignment. I believe that Randall is viewed as a starter by Detroit (as he should be in my opinion), so the fact that he worked exclusively out of the bullpen with the GCL team is more a factor of the aforementioned innings limit as opposed to a plan to convert him to a reliever.
Randall stands 6'4" and weighs around 185lbs currently, although his body does show the ability to carry some more weight. His fastball currently sits in the high 80's, occasionally scraping 91-92, so the hope is that with extra muscle he can add a couple ticks to his velocity. I see some projection here, but I don't think his fastball ceiling is any higher than sitting 89-92 or so. However, Randall features some of, if not the best command in the entire Tigers system. He throws all of his pitches for strikes, and can move them in and out of the zone effectively, which certainly helps his profile considering his lack of premium stuff. His fastball also has nice sink on it, resulting in his ability to get lots of groundball outs, although I would stop short of labeling him a sinkerball pitcher, a la Rick Porcello. Randall also features a curveball, change up, and cutter; all of which he is able to command at an at least average level. All of those pitches all grade out as 50 pitches (or more) at times as well. Randall's delivery is very smooth and simple, and he repeats it very well, which speaks to his plus command.
Randall's ceiling is that of a #5 starter or long reliever, with his command being the optimum factor here. It can carry him through the system, but once he reaches the advanced levels, the lack of premium stuff will become much more hittable. The hope here is that he can add some velocity as he adds strength, while sharpening his offspeed stuff, which of course would enhance his profile. Even if that happens, I don't think it raises his ceiling significantly, but would rather increase the likelihood tremendously that he could reach the 5 starter ceiling. Randall is a polished college pitcher who was in the Rookie League as an innings precaution more than anything, so I think he could jump a couple levels right off the cuff and start 2013 in Class Advanced A-Lakeland's rotation, depending, of course, on how he looks in Spring Training.