NCAA Baseball

Scotts Valley flamethrower Jacob Hudson, clocked at 93 mph at age 15, commits to TCU

Scotts Valley flamethrower Jacob Hudson, one of Santa Cruz County’s most highly recruited baseball players in recent history, had eight Pac-12 Conference programs seeking his services. That’s what happens when you’re 15 years old and throw harder than some major leaguers.

The newly turned 16-year-old sophomore at Valley Christian High of San Jose opted to compete in the Big 12 Conference. He committed to powerful Texas Christian University last month and will join the NCAA Division-I program in 2023-24.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound right-handed pitcher is one of the nation’s top recruits in the Class of 2023. As a 15-year-old, he had his fastball clocked at 93 mph — 17 mph faster than the average speed for pitchers in his graduating class, according to Perfect Game.

“It’s pretty crazy,” said Hudson, a USA Baseball 16U National Team Development Program selection who plays travel ball for Trosky National. “Two of my (Trosky) teammates (Pierce Boles and Zach Wadas) committed to TCU as well. They saw me through them. Yeah, I’m excited.”

Boles is a 6-2 right-handed pitcher and corner infielder out of Argyle, Texas, and Wadas is a 6-4 left-handed pitcher, first baseman and outfielder out of Phoenix.

  • Scotts Valley’s Jacob Hudson, a 16-year-old sophomore at Valley Christian High in San Jose, threw 93 mph at age 15 and committed to Texas Christian University.  (Lisa Wall – Contributed)

  • Scotts Valley’s Jacob Hudson had eight Pac-12 Conference baseball programs seeking his services when he committed to Texas Christian University. (Contributed)

  • Scotts Valley’s Jacob Hudson, a 16-year-old sophomore at Valley Christian High in San Jose, threw 93 mph at age 15 and committed to Texas Christian University.  (Lisa Wall – Contributed)

  • Scotts Valley’s Jacob Hudson, a sophomore at Valley Christian High, plays travel ball for Trosky National. (Contributed)

  • Scotts Valley’s Jacob Hudson goes into the windup as a freshman on Valley Christian High’s varsity team last season. He had his fastball clocked at 93 mph last month as a 15-year-old. (Lisa Wall – Contributed)



TCU, winner of the Big 12 Tournament title in 2014 and ’16, is one of just three programs nationally to have appeared in five of the last 10 College World Series. The Horned Frogs were off to an 11-4 start under longtime coach Jim Schlossnagle when their season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic in the spring.

Hudson made a visit to Fort Worth, Texas, to tour the campus and facilities and liked what he experienced.

“It was was close enough to the city where you didn’t feel like you were in the middle of nowhere,” said Hudson, who plans to major in communications. “I got some good assurances from the program and liked that it felt like a family more than a baseball team.”

Hudson works out at Rossy’s Training in Scotts Valley and has been working the past four years with Aptos-based pitching coach Mark Eichhorn, a former major league pitcher who was part of World Series championship teams in 1992 and ’93.

“The guy has got a hose,” Eichhorn said of Hudson’s loose and lively arm. “You could tell at age 12 he had an elite arm and he’s just gotten better and better. He’s pretty polished. To think he’s only going to be a sophomore is pretty crazy.”

In addition to his four-seam fastball, Hudson also has a plus-rated curve and throws a changeup.

Hudson said his fastball was first clocked at 90 mph at a tournament in Arizona last summer.

“I didn’t do incredible at the tournament but I got 90,” he said. “That was a huge milestone for me because I had gotten 89 quite a bit.”

He has continued to add to his velocity, registering 92 several times before finally clocking 93 last month.

Competing on the Valley Christian’s varsity team last spring, Hudson made three starts on the mound and went 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA. He struck out 22 batters and walked five while giving up 10 hits over 14 2/3 innings. He also plays third base and outfield.

“Huddy is pretty special,” said John Diatte, who has coached the Warriors for 32 years and turned out dozens of D-I players and minor leaguers. “He’s hard working and a great kid. He might end up being one of the better guys we’ve ended up having here because of how hard he works and committed he is.”

Hudson said he wasn’t surprised that he’d made the Warriors’ varsity team as a freshman.

“It was more that I had to live up to that expectation,” he said.

Those who have seen him pitch have rave reviews about his durable physique, lower body strength and mechanics.

“He’s a tank,” Eichhorn said. “He has a mature body and clean mechanics. He’s 200 pounds of solid meat. He has a loose arm and it’s pretty to watch.”

Hudson said his goal is to reach 100 mph by the time he graduates high school. As is, he has played against U23 opponents and said there aren’t too many players who want to take their cuts against his fastball.

“He’s definitely dominant in his age group,” Diatte said. “He was dominant at the varsity level and he’s going to continue to get better. With his high velocity coupled with his breaking pitch, he’s a strikeout guy. And the more guys who don’t put the ball in play, the easier it gets.”

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