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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Scouting Report Tim Hudson

I've been quite outspoken about how "lucky" Tim Hudson has been this year, and it's September and he is making me look like a fool. My bet (but don't bet on it) was that he would finish the year with an ERA over 3; it currently sits at 2.24 and will likely go lower after this start versus the Mets. This will be his 3rd start of the season against the Mets and he's let up only 1 run in 13 innings.

The Mets faced Hudson on July 10th and August 2nd. Here was my write up then, and will update his post-All Star break performance.

The 12-year major league veteran turns 35 on Wednesday, and is in the first year of a 3-year contract paying him 28 million dollars. He missed the majority of last year recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but made seven starts in September, going 2-1 with a 3.61 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. His career numbers are impressive, 156-82, with a 3.43 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, as well as being an All-star three times, including being selected for the game this year.  For his career, Hudson is 10-5 versus the Mets (16 starts, 105 innings), with a 3.77 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, and only 3.7 K/9. He faced the Mets last September and got the W, going six innings, allowed two runs on nine hits, while walking and striking out two.

Hudson is a six-pitch pitcher who works quickly and throws from the three quarters arm slot. He throws a hard sinking fastball 89-92 mph (averaging 91.2 mph, highest since 2004), a cutter 88 mph, a late-breaking slider (85 mph), a tight curve (76 mph), a show-me change early in the count (81 mph) and a splitter he uses for strikeouts (85 mph). Over his career his three best pitches have been his fastball, split and slider, but his split and slider have been below average this year (maybe the cause of his lack of strike outs). He throws first pitch fastball 72% of the time and is relying on his fastball and slider with two strikes.

In 17 starts this year, Hudson is 8-4 with a 2.44 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Those numbers are very deceiving, as he has been extremely lucky, with a trio of things working against him in the 2nd half. 1) His strike out rate has dropped to a pedestrian 4.57 K/9 (lowest in his career). 2) BAPIP is .234, completely unsustainable (career average is .286). 3) His strand rate is 84% (career average is 74%). Due to the combination of this three things, his FIP is 4.29; not as shiny as his 2.44 ERA. Hudson has continued to get a ton of ground balls due to his sinking fastball, but he's not getting swing and misses (6.8%, career is 9.3%) and throwing a career low 46% strikes. His last start versus Florida he was a tough luck loser, throwing eight innings, allowed only seven base-runners, but three runs, while striking out seven.

UPDATE August 2nd: He's had three starts since he faced the Mets on July 10 (7 shutout innings, 4 hits, 2 walks, 3 k's), and he's had two quality starts (14 2/3 innings, 1 earned run), while his first start after the break was awful (6 2/3, 6 earned runs). His ERA for the year is now 2.40, 1.16 WHIP, and K/9 is 4.67. His FIP and xFIP is 4.12 and 4.13.

Update September 2nd: He's made 5 starts since August 2nd and has 3 wins and 4 out of 5 quality starts. He is now 15-5 with a 2.24 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. His K/9 rate is up to 5.31 (benefited from his last start, 13 k's in 7 innings). His FIP is 3.74 and xFIP is 3.86. His BAPIP is still very low and unsustainable at .244, and he has a ridiculously high strand rate (83.6% versus 74% career).

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