It was a magical season for Tim Hudson, who had pitched just 42.1 innings in 2009 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2008. His numbers were fine in that span (3.61 ERA, 1.46 WHIP), but no one knew exactly what to expect in his first full year back. Hudson performed better than anyone could’ve expected, posting the following line:
139 Strikeouts (5.47 K/9)
74 Walks (2.91 BB/9)
The question for fantasy owners is if he has any chance of replicating the numbers? The first big strike against him is his strikeout rate. He has a career K/9 of 6.06 and the only time he has actually been above 5.81 since 2003 was in ’09 when he posted a 6.38 K/9. Of course, that was over a minimal sample size so it can be taken with a grain of salt.
Without the strikeout rate, there a big risk that the other numbers come tumbling down as well. His BABIP is unbelievable. He has a career rate of .286 and routinely posted a mark between .290 and .307 prior to the injury.
Yes, he has always had great control which he was almost able to replicate despite missing significant time (2.91 BB/9 vs. 2.78 for his career). However, a regression in BABIP is going to mean a big fall in his WHIP. For his career he has posted a 1.25 WHIP and seeing him perform significantly worse than that would not be surprising.
As for the ERA, he benefitted from an 81.2% strand rate. For his career he is at 74.2%. In 2010 he was one of only two pitchers who qualified for the ERA title to post a strand rate better than 80% (the other two were Cole Hamels & Roy Halladay). It should be a foregone conclusion that he is going to regress there as well.
You put it all together and get the following projection:
200.0 IP, 15 W, 3.78 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 120 K (5.40 K/9), 63 BB (2.84 BB/9)
Those are fine numbers overall, but without the strikeouts he becomes a barely passable pitcher for fantasy owners. Unless he is going to post an elite ERA or WHIP (or both), those in shallower formats can basically forget about him without the strikeout rate. Considering, from his track record, we know that’s not going to happen, it’s easy to ignore Hudson on draft day.
What are your thoughts on Hudson? Is he someone that is usable? How do you think he’s going to produce?
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Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections: