A competitor of the first degree, Tim Hudson has been greatly overlooked for the majority of his career. First he was somewhat hidden by the presence of Mark Mulder and Barry Zito in Oakland, and then he moved on to Atlanta where he toiled as a top shelf pitching option, though once again one who failed to generate as much attention as his production warranted. However, after a wonderful first half he was named to the 2010 NL All-Star team, a much deserved honor given his 2.44 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 8-4 record through 17 starts. In the next couple of sections I’ll relate some of the historical success of Hudson before speaking directly to what I expect from him in the second half of the regular season.
A History Lesson
As a rookie Hudson went 11-2 with a 3.23 ERA for the A’s over 21 starts. He ended up fifth in the Rookie of the Year Voting.
In year two he won 20 games for the first and only time as he went 20-6 as he finished second in the AL Cy Young race despite the fact that he posted the second worst ERA of his career at 4.14.
In year III (2001), he made a career high 35 starts as he went 18-9 with a 3.37 ERA.
You get the picture. He’s been very good for a long time. In fact, here are some historical facts about Hudson that speak to just how good he has been.
* From 1999-2008 he won at least 11 games each season. Only he and Mike Mussina did that. Moreover, in each season of his career in which he has thrown 130-innings he has won at least 11 games.
* In his career he is 156-82, good for a .655 winning percentage. As a result, he is one of just 10 pitchers in big league history with a winning percentage over .650 and at least 150 victories in a career. Think about that. Only 10 men have ever done that.
* Hudson owns a 3.43 ERA in his career despite spending six of his 12 seasons in the AL. He owns a career 1.28 ERA+ meaning his ERA has been 28 percent better than league average (park and era adjusted). To place that number in context, that 128 mark is tied for 43rd all time with guys like Curt Schilling, Bob Gibson and Tom Seaver.
Yes, that means he has been historically good.
Breaking Down 2010
Hudson deserves to be on the All-Star team this season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t concerns. Let’s just plow through them.
1- His ERA hasn’t been below 3.00 since 2003.
2- His WHIP hasn’t been 1.15 or lower since 2003.
3- His .221 batting average against would be a career low (.250 lifetime mark).
4- Despite all the success his 4.57 K/9 mark is a batter and a half below his career rate (6.04). It would also be a career worst mark.
5- His 3.23 BB/9 is above his career rate (2.79) and would be his second worst mark since 2000.
6- His line drive rate is laughably low at 10.6 percent. His career rate is 18.0 and it has been at least 16.5 percent each of the past eight years.
7- His BABIP mark is .234 which would be a career low (.286 lifetime mark).
8- His left on base percentage is sky high at 84.0 percent. It’s 74.0 percent for his career.
9- His GB/FB ratio is 3.15, a mark that would set a new career best.
Could Hudson have a second half to match the first? Stranger things certainly have happened. At the same time there is so much out of whack here that it would be wise not to lay a big portion of your paycheck on Hudson continuing to dominate as the season wears on. He should be fine and concerns about his Tommy John surgery obviously have vanished, but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a good time to see if you can parlay his hot start into a big return on the trade market.
By Ray Flowers