Fantasy Baseball Free Agents: Outlook Bright for Tim Hudson


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I take all of my fantasy league’s seriously, but I’ve had my sights set on one particular since last season ended a in rather bitter way. In that league, I own Tim Hudson.

But if I’m being really honest with you, I wasn’t expecting to own him for long. I’ve always been a fan of Hudson and now that he’s on my favorite team, I figured that I owed him one start. But weighing a gruesome season-ending injury in 2013 with his is age (38) and a less than stellar spring, I didn’t expect him to be on the team for long.

After his first outing of the year, that attitude has now changed.

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That’s a hitter’s park that had produced two very funky games to start the season. The fact that that infield is incredibly fast and Hudson is a ground ball pitcher didn’t really matter. He found a way to get outs, and a lot of them.

All of a sudden, the guy who’s been one of the most consistent pitchers in the game since before I was in High School looked pretty darn good from where I was sitting. Remember, you can never have too much pitching on a fantasy team: it’s impossible. So if you’re in one of the leagues where he’s still available, here’s what I want you to do.

Act now! Stop reading and go sign him. Then, come back, and I’ll tell you why you made a good move.

Welcome back. Now, why was signing Tim Hudson a good idea?

Reason 1: Upcoming April Starts

Assuming Hudson start’s every fifth game for the Giants, this is what he’s looking at:

  • Today, April 8, vs. Arizona

Looking at his career splits, this season’s game against the D-Backs may not have been a fluke.

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And that was before his first start this season.

I understand that Hudson’s been around a while and some of those numbers came against Arizona teams that didn’t include guys like Paul Goldschmidt, but he seemed to do fine against the 2014 Diamondbacks, too. Now that he gets them in spacious AT&T Park in a home opener (which the Giants have not lost since 2008), there’s even more reason to be excited.

  • April 13, vs. Colorado

If you’re presenting a case about how beneficial Coors Field is to hitters, Hudson’s career vs. the Rockies should be Exhibit A.

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Fortunately for those of us who own Hudson, this particular start is in San Francisco, not Denver. His success against Colorado in Oakland and Atlanta tells me that this is a green light outing for fantasy players.

  • April 18, at San Diego 

His numbers in San Diego are surprisingly ordinary. Still, Petco is one of the best places in all of baseball to pitch. The Padres offense is also nothing to write home about. I don’t know that I’m expecting a complete game shutout or anything, but this outing sets up well.

  • April 25, vs. Cleveland

They look like a good offensive team again, but American League teams without a DH are always a little vulnerable. Definitely a green light start for fantasy players, especially if Hudson pitches well over the next three outings.

  • April 30, vs. San Diego

Again, San Diego’s offense is just not that tough. If you told me the Padres will win this game, I wouldn’t have much of a problem believing you. If you told me they’ll win it scoring more than 3-4 total runs, I’d be quite a bit more surprised.

In May, things get a little rougher with outings in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles to start, and then at Coors Field a little later. But by then, Hudson should be in a good groove.

Reason 2: AT&T Park/NL West

We don’t need to go that in depth here.

If you follow baseball with any regularity, you know that AT&T Park is one of the best places to pitch in all of baseball. A guy like Hudson likes to pitch to contact, and it absolutely helps a pitcher to know that the park he’s pitching in works as an extra defender.

Hudson not only gets AT&T Park, but he’ll also likely make multiple starts in Los Angeles and San Diego, both great places to pitch. We’ve already gone over Arizona and again, you may want to leave him on the fantasy pine in Colorado. But the majority of Hudson’s starts should be in very pitcher-friendly environments.

Reason 3: WHIP Control

One of the reasons I was worried about Hudson’s spring was is BB/9 rate of 3.9. Eek. I’m saying a lot of positive things about Hudson here, but I’m not going to point out his strikeout rate. Hudson’s a control guy that at his best, which will allow owners to sign high K guys like Tony Cingrani, that may bring more of a risk with a higher BB rate.

After his first start of the year, it’s a lot more realistic to think that his high spring BB rate came from him struggling to find a release point. Since he hadn’t pitched since the middle of 2013, it made sense. Him being on point and around the plate with all of his pitches was a welcome sight.

That, along with a plus fastball and good off-speed stuff means that a H/9 rate of 8.5 and a BB/9 mark of 2.5 may both be pretty conservative guesstimates. Those would produce a fine WHIP of 1.22 and after seeing his first start, a sub-1.20 WHIP doesn’t seem that outrageous.

I’m normally the first to caution people against overreacting to hot/cold starts. It’s part of the reason that I don’t start doing Dixon’s Picks until we’re about a month into the season.

But Hudson really only had such a low ownership rate because of his injury last year and a rough spring. Without both of those, I doubt very much that he every would have approached a 90 percent availability rate.

For a proven steady performer, one start can go a long way in alleviating concerns.

Things are looking pretty bright for Tim Hudson, and he’s absolutely worth an add.