Analyzing Dan Hudson's Slow Start

Coming into the 2010 season there were high hopes for Dan Hudson,
but through the first month he has not quite lived up to his billing. But
should we be worried, or is it merely noise in what will otherwise be a very
successful career?


Everyone knows what Dan Hudson did last year, tearing through the
Minors, pitching at five different levels while not posting an ERA above 3.40
at any stop. Striking out over a batter per inning, winning the Minor League
pitcher of the year award
and being just generally awesome. But scouts were
still not in love with him, and he didn’t grade out highly on industry prospect
lists, so surely his slow start to the season means doom and gloom? Let’s take
a look…


The numbers this year are not pretty, that’s for sure. Hudson is
sporting a 9.37 ERA and 2.02 WHIP through 4 starts (16.1 IP), although only his
last outing was a disaster start (1 IP, 9 ER, 8 H, 2 HR). He’s still striking
out batters, as is evident from his 24.32 K% and this would indicate that
Hudson’s stuff hasn’t dropped off. We saw from his Major League stint last year
that his stuff is legit. The movement he gets on his fastball/change is
phenomenal and should allow him to shut down left handed batters. He does need
to improve his slider in order to effectively shut down right handed batters,
though. His walk rate has taken a step back from last year with a 9.9 BB% (vs.
8.7 BB% with Charlotte last year), but it’s not a huge concern, not with the control he exhibited last year.


So the peripherals still look pretty good, but the results have been
terrible. Hudson’s giving up a ridiculous amount of hits with a .352 AVG
against and an extreme number of home runs (6). The home runs were the most
striking thing to me, especially given his decent 42% GB%. Now, minor league
batted ball data is not particularly reliable, but based on the ground ball/fly
ball rates, you would have expected Hudson to allow 2, maybe 3 home runs, but
nowhere near 6. Roughly 10% of fly balls will go for home runs; Dan Hudson’s
HR% this year? 29.25%. That will not continue over a full season. Hudson’s
getting very unlucky with the home run and it’s a big part of why his
performance is off. Another source of poor luck for Hudson has been with his
hits allowed. The .352 AVG against is fuelled by a .402 BABIP, which is around
.100 points higher than you would expect. Again, this is extremely unlikely to last over a full season.


It seems clear to me that Dan Hudson has been unlucky this year,
rather than bad. His FIP, 7.20, may not be good, but it is much better than his
ERA, which indicates that he’s pitching better than his results, and if we had
xFIP for minor leaguers I’m sure it would be a heck of a lot better again,
think something in the 3.80-4.20 range.


I wouldn’t be worried about Dan Hudson, not yet anyway. Unless
someone from Charlotte has alarming reports on his stuff, I fully expect him to
have a great year.

Filed under: News and notes

Tags: Dan Hudson

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