Didn’t pitch at an ace level, for which he got slammed, but he was a good pitcher. His ERA was 3.52, but he probably wasn’t quite that good. Reversed a decline in his strikeout rate, but at the same time his control was off; he walked 65 men, his most since 2001. He missed five starts with a muscle problem in his side, which appears to be chronic since he’s missed time in at least the two previous years with the same problem. His worst pitching came when he was hurt.
Hudson actually had some great starts. I’ll define a “great start” as any where innings minus runs are equal to or greater than 7. I count five of those… But three were before the end of May. (His best start was a complete-game shutout of the Astros in mid-April when the Astros were playing very poorly.) He had some catastrophic starts right before he went on the DL. After that, he was rarely great but never failed to give the team a chance to win, never allowing more than four runs.
Hudson’s comparables list (SimScores through Age 29) is full of guys from the last couple of generations whose careers fell off in their early thirties. Most-similar is Jack McDowell, which is disturbing because McDowell’s last good year was at 29. Second is Dennis Leonard (last good year at 30) but third is Mike Mussina, who pitched well at 34 and adequately last year at 36. Of course, Mussina went to Stanford and Hudson went to Auburn; if you want someone smart enough to pitch without his best stuff, take the Stanford guy over the Aubie every time. Other recent comparables are Doug Drabek (last good year at 31), Jack Morris (last good year at 36 but after struggling from 33-35) and Kevin Appier (last really good year at 29 but above-average from 32-34). Wow, this is scary.