Tim Hudson

Tim Hudson Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com.

Hudson only made seven starts coming off his surgery, which means, among other things, that the looking-at-players-and-making-subjective-judgements-type-people have a better idea about what to expect than looking-at-numbers-and-making-supposedly-objective-judgements-type-people like me. The Braves were obviously impressed, signing him to an extension. His seven starts were pretty good, four quality starts, one other in which he gave up two runs in 5 1/3, and just two poor starts, neither of them really that bad. He was on a pitch count, so he never went more than 93 pitches, limiting him to a maximum of seven innings (three times). His 3.61 ERA probably underrates how well he actually pitched.

With such a limited number of innings, I’m not too comfortable drawing conclusions, but the thing that stands out to me is that Hudson had an abnormally high hit rate, 10.4 per nine, a .295 BA allowed. He may have been pitching to contact a little because of the pitch counts, or he may have been easing up to get the ball over the plate because of the control problems pitchers have coming back from TJ surgery. Or he may have just been unlucky. Who knows?

The scouts say that Hudson was throwing harder than he was before the surgery. It’s not unprecedented, and his strikeout rate (sample size noted) was the highest since 2001. For the most part, he was basically the same pitcher he was before the surgery, which is a good thing.

66 thoughts on “Tim Hudson”

  1. I’m looking foward to see Tim pitch this year but what I’m really wondering about is this thing with Johnny Damon. What do you think will happen there?

  2. I’m fascinated by the post-surgery legend of enhanced velocity. It certainly seems logical that an elbow that can now generate more torque would generate more speed – but I only play a doctor when the wife is into the wine.

    Any of you smart guys know if there’s validity to the notion of increased speed. (Our closer has the same experience, I believe.)

  3. I wonder about the “improved velocity” as well.

    Is this relative to just before surgery, or their career as a whole? I would imagine velocity declines the closer you get to needing major reconstructive surgery.

  4. I think it’s just improved from before when he needed the surgery. His first couple of years IIRC he was throwing mid-90s, he was throwing 92-93 last year.

    So, Hudson has 148 career wins through age 33, has been near the top of the league in ERA in 6-7 years, and has generally been recognized as one of the top pitchers in the league. How many more wins does he need to start getting consideration for the HOF?

  5. 250 wins should get him consideration, so he’ll probably have to pitch injury-free baseball for the next 5-6 years to approach that number before retirement (assuming his retirement will come around the normal age of 40).

  6. Players don’t typically throw harder post-surgery than pre-surgery. Perhaps they’ll throw harder immediately after surgery than they threw immediately before, but AFAIK, there’s no long-term increase in velocity.

    Personally, I think this was a good extension for the Braves to get. TJ surgeries don’t go wrong very often, and if they do, it’ll be before the player gets back to the mound and pitches in ML games. Hudson should be the old Hudson (adjusted for age or whatever), and I think he’ll be well worth the three-year commitment.

  7. Tim Hudson is an Ace in my book and most scouts would agree with that assessment. Of course he’s from my home town and I’m totally biased in some respects.

    But still, his career .655 win/loss percentage is just ridiculous. However, he posted a percentage of .702 with Oakland and just .589 with the Braves. TJ surgery will impact Hudson in that I fully expect him to return to being the same dominant pitcher he was before with Oakland.

    At 9 million per season Hudson is a steal….gotta love the home town discount.

    As for the notion that pitchers throw harder after TJ surgery, there isn’t much if any scientific data to support the theory. If anything the return to pre-injury form combined with improved mechanics and rehab leaves the athlete with a brand new elbow. Hence the *IMPROVEMENT* in velocity which is really saying the arm is healthy again.

    All in all, don’t be surprised when Huddy nails down 16-18 wins or maybe even wins 20.

  8. seems like he really just struggled from the stretch last season, either way, I expect that this deal will work out in ATL’s favor. Id much rather have Huddy over Vasquez and thats pretty much what it can down to in this past offseason

  9. I’ve always reasoned that the intense rehabilitation program that is required after having ligament transplant surgery is more responsible for the increase in velocity than the actual surgery itself.

  10. #9 Agreed. The Braves liked Huddy’s history of consistent goodness over Vazquez’ flashes of brilliance. But, in a perfect world they would have rather have had JV and Huddy and traded Lowe. Alas, overpaying on a contract haunts teams for years.

    From previous thread – WOW what an endorsement, ububba from a guy that travels as much as you. I’ve always wanted to see the Pacific NW.

    Parish, have a great time and cheer on home team for us.

  11. Hudson’s a beast, and a guy you just love to cheer for. I think he’s going to come back strong and anchor our rotation. I think a low-3’s ERA and around 200 IP is a reasonable expectation. Another thing that he brings back is the non-pitching fundamentals that he’s so good at. He can bunt, hit, and field his position which should really help Jurrjens, Hanson, Medlen and the other young guys, the same way Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz undoubtedly helped the younger pitchers in their era with those important things that most pitchers don’t seem to learn coming through college and the minors.

    I’m coaching a high school baseball team, and one of our coaches and I were talking about the DH. I’m under the impression that the National League in MLB is the only organized league that does not have the DH. Japanese leagues, Central American leagues, European leagues, the minors, college, high school, little league, everywhere seems to have it. Our other coach (a former professional pitcher) said there was a college instructional league he played in where he had to hit, but other than that, he couldn’t think of anywhere else. Anyone know of another organized league?

  12. I believe that in a lot of leagues the DH can be used for any position, so if the pitcher is a good hitter (at lower levels, the pitcher is often one of the best athletes on the team) he will hit and they’ll use the DH for someone else.

  13. @14 Really? I’m not doubting you but that would be surprising.

    I despise the DH but I wonder if in the name of uniformity the NL should just cave and play the DH.

  14. DH? Never. Everyone should hit. Everyone should wear a glove.

    I think it was Skip Caray who referred to the NL as “real baseball.”

    Fingers crossed on Hudson. It’s true—he’s one of those guys I like to root for, too.

    FWIW, Hudson was born in Columbus, but he’s really from the other side of the river, in Phenix City.

    Went to Glenwood HS, Chattahoochee Valley Community College (Chuck James’ JC) and, of course, Auburn. I’d like to claim him, too, but he’s really an Alabamian.

  15. I’m pretty sure Japanese baseball has a similar set-up to MLB. There’s video of KK knocking a homer somewhere on youtube.

  16. baseball players play defense and hit. IMO, its awful to compare the AL and NL and there is no reason to have any sort of disparity between the two. I dont see them ever changing it back, but unfortunately, I could see the NL having a DH somewhere down the line. Its not baseball to allow a player so sit and watch and hit every two to three innings. Its a real disadvantage for NL teams, who actually have to make game time baseball decisions from time to time.

    I remember the Yanks brass’ complaining that Wang actually had to run the bases. Thats a disappointment to hear a baseball GM actually make a comment like that, but it really falls back to Selig. He has the power to change the game, if he did, Im sure it’d be for the worse

  17. Seat Painter’s right, according to Wikipedia. In Japan, the Pacific League uses the DH, while the Central League does not.

    As much power as Selig may have, I really think there’s no way he could eliminate the DH even if he wanted to. Too much money, too many vested interests for the MLBPA ever to agree, even if the owners did (of which I’m not certain). I hate it, but I don’t think it’s changing. I just hope the NL can keep playing real baseball.

  18. Hey Rob Cope,

    where do you coach?

    I just taught the twelve-year-olds that I instruct the Lincecum / Maddox “stepover” – that last little stride-lengthening move to a) keep them closed and b) generate torque. I couldn’t believe it, but they took to it like ducks to water.

    Wish I could make a living at it. Coaching young kids and watching them progress is the greatest thing ever.

  19. Hate the DH. If we must have a designated hitter, how about going with the 10-man batting order wherein you add an “EH” (extra hitter) yet make the pitcher hit.

    Yeah, I hate that idea, too.

  20. why hasnt Felipe Lopez signed? if we dont sign Damon, Id rather have Lopez over Conrad or Thurston as a backup infielder. I think Lopez can play SS effectively also, plus he fired Boras, so I give the man props

  21. I agree with all on the DH. But since it appears that the NL is the ONLY league in all of American baseball not using it I see where in the end they will have to conform. Selig doesn’t have the power to eliminate the DH. This one is on the MLBPA. In a perfect world the AL conforms to the NL, triggering the elimination of the DH in professional baseball in America followed by the amateur organizations later.

    I’d rather see the DH go away before the unbalanced schedule and I HATE the unbalanced schedule.

  22. Finally caught “Avatar” last night. Can’t imagine not seeing it in 3D—what a thrill ride.

    Of course, for $16.50, it had better be a mind-blower.

  23. Sorry to change the subject: do movies in the U.S.now cost $16.50?

    Otherwise, I like the Hudson write up–I think that he will be a good teacher for the younger arms such as Hanson, Medlen and, to a lesser extent, JJ….

  24. The Mets starting line-up and rotation before the off-season:

    David Wright
    Jose Reyes
    Carlos Beltran
    Angel Pagan
    Jeff Francoeur
    Luis Castillo
    Daniel Murphy
    Omir Santos

    Johan Santana
    John Maine
    Mike Pelfrey
    Oliver Perez
    Fernando Nieve

    The Mets starting line-up and rotation after the off season:

    David Wright
    Jose Reyes
    Carlos Beltran
    Jason Bay
    Jeff Francoeur
    Luis Castillo
    Daniel Murphy
    Omir Santos

    Johan Santana
    John Maine
    Mike Pelfrey
    Oliver Perez
    Fernando Nieve

    Omar Minaya is bad at his job.

  25. @31,

    Actually, even though Beltran is the nominal starter, during the offseason we have found out he won’t be the starter before June. So, actually, the lineup has degraded, not stayed level.

    And that is a fair Front Office criticism. However, the disaster which the Mets medical team seems to be may have been caused by someone else other than Omar.

  26. Hey – D-League Alpharetta softball does not use the DH.

    We are going up to Whistler tomorrow. It’s the only day without a sunny forecast. Good news, bad news, I guess.

    If you watch the Olympics you can see the building in which we are residing every time they show Canada Place from the water. We are literally one block from there.

  27. @24,

    No, you don’t want Felipe Lopez for anything, including cleaning the clubhouse. Yes, he is talented, but watching his lack of effort becomes tiresome. I saw enough of him in DC to not want to ever see him on a team I root for. Sure, he was on a bad team and I realize Bobby has a great rep at dealing with troubled players, but I would stay away from this guy.

  28. Thanks Dusty for the link. I could not help but notice that Scott Thorman was the player who benefitted the most….

  29. Felipe Lopez, HMMMM. Lets see. Switch hits, plays 3B, SS, 2B and is just 29 while batting .310 last year.

    On the surface it sure looks shiny but take a peek under the hood. He has already burned through six different organizations in spite of being a former first round draft pick (8th player taken in 1998). While having the reputation of an underachiever and trouble maker.

    Even Scott Boras couldn’t find him a job. I would use a ten foot pole before touching this one, as in minor league contract only.

  30. Have to agree with Coach here. The words “clubhouse” and “cancer” have been mentioned in connection to Felipe Lopez.

  31. hmmm….Lopez is a very similar player to Infante, and we already have him. Having said that, assuming 12 starters and 8 regulars, you have a 5 man bench.

    Hinske
    Melky (If Heyward sticks)/4th OF (If Heyward doesnt’t)
    Infante
    Ross
    Player X

    I think I like Lopez at a discount better than Thurston. But since Hinske and Glaus already play 3b, I’d rather they chose a professional hitter type for the last bench spot, who could fake it in the OF corners. Thurston is a phone call away in Gwinnett, and I suspect having additional offense would be far more useful than having a 2nd UIF

  32. I’m rooting for Mitch Jones as player x. Let’s keep Thurston in the minors where he can work on his hitting. We can call him up if Infante or Escobar get hurt. Jones can play 1B and the corner OFs, so I think he’ll give us the flexibility we need since Glaus is definitely an injury risk. He can at least provide us some power, whereas Thurston has very little to offer offensively.

  33. Dave Cameron on Melkylicious

    He’s been around long enough that its easy to forget that he’s just 25 years old. He gets labeled as a tweener, because he’s not a great defensive CF or a great offensive LF, but guys like this are often better than people realize, and there’s still upside left with Cabrera. He’s a really good contact hitter and strong enough to add to his current gap power levels. He doesn’t even have to add all that much power to turn himself into a legitimate 20-20 threat.

    He may not look like a classic corner outfielder, but Cabrera can play, and I think Braves fans will be pleasantly surprised with what he offers. His defense is going to be a solid plus in a corner, and he’s not far from being a quintessential #2 hitter. Given his physical skills and age, don’t be surprised if he locks down an outfield spot in Atlanta for the next several years.

  34. FWIW, here are the last few years of Jones’ career AAA MLE’s

    2006 – .198/.274/.388
    2007 – .221/.315/.505
    2008 – .190/.253/.415

    Good walk rate and great ISO, but…wow.

  35. @45 – I admire Cameron’s work as much as anyone, but that is just a flat assertion right there. Let’s not confuse conjecture with track record, although the age point is well taken.

  36. Yeah the article was about who he thinks will do better than the general consensus predicts. Not really a player analysis.

  37. unless Melky develop into something that I dont think he can, I dont see how a team can justify paying him much more than he’s making now. Who are his comps for his service time right now? I think he’s making 3.25mil in 2010, I just dont see what he’ll offer to justify paying much more than that

  38. 49,
    He makes $3.1 million in 2010, but the Yankees shipped $500,000 over with Melky et. all–your choice what to do with that.

    And yes, you’re right, if he makes significant progress in 2010, something I don’t think we should either expect or rule out, he’s probably good enough to start and worth the arb 3 salary. Otherwise, he’s a 4th outfielder making something like $4.5 million, which is pretty much a waste of money.

    I don’t think he starts 2011 with the Braves unless he gets better and wins a starting job. If he doesn’t improve, I’d trade/non tender him.

  39. It’s his right shoulder. Hopefully it’s just normal getting-back-into-shape pain, but often there are underlying causes.

  40. Its hard for fans to know how to evaluate a ‘sore shoulder’. I suspect that they are more common than is often realized. I suppose this is the better time of year (if there is such a thing) for a sore shoulder than it would be in say June, but this is not the kind of information we want to begin Spring Training with….

  41. Especially since he showed up a week early, had “lingering soreness”, then shared this…

    “Jurrjens told a team official that he felt a twinge when he flipped a ball underhanded during a recent game in his native Curacao, shortly before he arrived in Florida.”

  42. “Jurrjens told a team official that he felt a twinge when he flipped a ball underhanded during a recent game in his native Curacao, shortly before he arrived in Florida.”

    He means…. He felt a twinge when he tried to throw a screwball in a pre mature, unsupervised bullpen session without the organization’s approval to start throwing.

    Or, that would be the way it would happen if he played for the Mets.

  43. I always assume it’s some really mundane situation that caused the injury. Carrying the groceries, opening a screen door, typing, pulling the garden hose, etc.

    I’m just glad he mentioned it and we didn’t have to wait an extra month to find out something might not be right.

  44. Hey everyone, made it through ok, thanks SO much for the books, SDP…they took the ball away from me, said I can have it when I go home. Just a few more days in here, and I on the way home. Hope to make it the Braves ST home opener….anyone else going? Cokes and Hot Dogs on me!

  45. Glad to hear it, FBF! Here’s to a speedy recovery.

    I went down to spring training last year and saw a Braves-Astros game; tons of fun. Lowe looked solid, Frenchy looked like he was turning the corner, and Brandon Jones had a clutch hit to help win the game. Go figure.

    It was the first Braves win I had seen in ages, though I still hadn’t seen a regular season win since 2002. Thankfully I got that out of the way this past fall at Citi-Field. Hopefully the baseball gods will shine on me this season.

  46. Hang tough, FBF.

    So JJ’s got an injury issue. Good thing we started the year with six good starters.

    Oh, wait – we’ve got Melky instead.

    Grrr …

  47. man, what news, fbf! i live in santa rosa beach and was thinking of driving down for a few spring training games, although i might forego the spring games this year if i can get tix to opening day at turner field (it happens to fall on my spring break…i’m a school teacher). i will let you know if plans change.

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