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Shooting Into the Dark: An Update on Tim Hudson

I have not written much about Tim Hudson this offseason, primarily because of the lack of information available. After the regular season ended last October, Hudson underwent surgery on his back in November. The surgery was to fix a herniated disk in his back. The surgery was successful and everything seems to point to him being able to return to form in 2012. The question is, and this is where there is a lot of ambiguity, when will he make his return?

The most recent piece of information on this came from David O’Brien from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He posted this on Twitter yesterday:

Too early to know. Could be week, could be 4-5 wks. RT @Joshua_Mayfield: @ajcbraves how much of regular season is Hudson expected to miss?

At this point, there is still a good bit of ambiguity as to how much time Tim Hudson will miss. With pitchers and catchers reporting on Sunday (2/19) and Spring Training right around the corner, I am sure more information will come soon.

Out of all the places on the Braves’ projected roster in 2012, the one place that has the most depth is their starting rotation. That is an enviable and great luxury that the Braves have, no doubt.

However, there is no denying that not having Tim Hudson for any period of time will obviously hurt. He has led the team in wins and innings pitched for the past two seasons. He has had the lowest or second lowest ERA out of any of their starters. Overall, he posted a 6.4 WAR over the past two seasons combined, which leads all of the Braves’ starters during that same period. His WAR last year of 3.7 was the best on the team (though, Craig Kimbrel had a WAR of 3.2 in less IP).

Many of the advanced stats don’t treat Hudson as kindly. He doesn’t strike out a ton of hitters. Being a sinker-baller, means he depends on his defense a lot.

The reality is that Hudson is an important player for the Braves. He is the leader of the pitching staff and is an invaluable piece of their rotation. He has pitched some great games the past two years with a lot on the line. That is what the Braves need this year with a rotation that is full of unproven, though talented, youngsters.

Let’s hope that he has a quick recovery and that he misses minimal time. If he missed significant time, this would be a significant blow for the Braves’ playoff aspirations in 2012.