Dan Hudson Remains A Sleeper In Arizona

By Tommy Rancel //

The Arizona Diamondbacks have completely revamped their rotation in the last calendar year. With Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, and Edwin Jackson now pitching for new teams, the D-Backs have added Joe Saunders, Ian Kennedy, Dan Hudson, and recently Armando Galarraga. The club even brought back reliever Aaron Heilman to compete for a rotation spot. In all fairness, the list reads as a casting call for your average fourth or fifth starter; however Dan Hudson had a real chance to stand out in the snakes’ rotation.

When Arizona acquired Hudson for Jackson last year, we quickly boarded the Hudson-hype train, urging owners to pick him up as a boost for playoff rotations. He did not disappoint – going 7-1 with a minuscule 1.69 ERA in 11 starts for the Diamondbacks. Overall, he went 8-2 with 2.45 ERA in 95 innings last year between Chicago and Arizona. After the trade to the National League, Hudson was literally spot-on. He struck out 70 batters in 79 innings while allowing just 16 walks. He induced a swing and a miss more than 12% of the time and allowed less than one baserunner per inning.

For all the good Hudson produced, there are some signs that he may regress from the absolute beast mode he displayed at the end of 2010. Though his strikeout rate may continue to be slightly above the league average, his walk rate is likely to regress from elite status to simply very good.

As a flyball pitcher, we were concerned about home runs being an issue at Chase Field; however, Hudson did a good job of limiting the big fly in his brief introduction to the stadium. Meanwhile, his home run-to-flyball ratio was below the league average which means he’ll likely allow more home runs in a larger sample size. In addition to the home runs, Hudson’s batting average on balls in play (.216) was well below the league average of around .300 and is also likely to see some regression.

Despite his strong showing at the end of the season, nobody expects Hudson to be a sub-2.00 ERA pitcher over the course of 30-plus starts. Going forward his ERA will probably be close to 3.50 than it will be 2.00. On the other hand, over the course of full-season that is still very valuable.

Though he may allow more hits and home runs, Hudson’s peripheral stats are strong enough to hold up as a valuable SP3 or possibly an SP2 in some deeper leagues. In even better news, Hudson goes into the 2011 season without much hype or fanfare meaning you could possibly get that value for the cost of an SP4 or SP5 in most standard mixed leagues.

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