The San Francisco Giants made yet another Hot Stove signing yesterday, bringing veteran starter, Tim Hudson back to the West Coast. Hudson has been extremely consistent on a year to year basis for the better part of a decade now and should continue delivery non-eye-popping stats in 2014 as well.
Hudson is an extreme ground ball type of pitcher, ranking in the top 6 of all arms with at least 130 innings pitched last season, with a mark of 55.8%. Since 2010, Hudson ranks second in all of baseball among starters with a 58.4% ground ball rate, 0.5% behind Derek Lowe for the top spot.
Hudson has also shown a strong ability to keep the ball in the yard, with HR/9 marks under 1.00 since 2007.
Of course these two factors are important for a pitcher like Hudson who does not generate a ton of strike outs on the mound. We’d have to go back to 2003 to find the last time Hudson posted a strike out percentage above league average and even that year it was 0.4% above the league average. Instead of blowing hitters away, Hudson limits his walks, as shown by his below league average walk percentage dating back to 2000 and keeps the ball on the ground and out of the seats.
A nasty ankle break limited Hudson to 131.1 innings pitched last season and at the age of 38, it’s probably best to not project Hudson for 185+ innings in 2014. That said, 165+ innings, while staying in the NL and pitching his home games in San Francisco, surely will not hurt his consistent performance track record. In a 12 team mixed league, maybe you take a shot on someone like Alex Wood or Michael Pineda at the point in the draft when Hudson would be selected, opting for youth and upside. In a 15 team mixed league Hudson will provide the stability and ratios that can help bolster your rotation and would slot in perfectly as a number 4 or 5 fantasy starter in said format.
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