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.

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  • Matt

    Whose WAR are you using there for Huddy? I haven’t looked it up, but I imagine fangraphs’ WAR is low on Hudson for the reasons you outlined above. BR’s WAR is a little less fringey with the FIP stuff, but still both versions would undersell Hudson compared to his peers to some degree because they love the K’s so much.

    • Chad

      Matt and Locked Heart,
      I was using FanGraphs WAR for the two year total. Huddy had a 3.7 WAR in 2011 and 2.7 in 2010. Statistically speaking, his 2010 season seems like it should be worth more than a 2.7 WAR. It is crazy to think that his 2010 WAR was equal to Lowe’s output, according to FanGraphs.

      • Matt

        Yeah, fangraphs’ WAR is heavily influenced by FIP, which hates groundball pitchers. They’re actually way out there on that, but they’re sticking to their guns at least.

        baseball-reference WAR has Hudson much better in 2010, as Chief Locked Heart says.

  • Chief Locked Heart

    Matt posted what I was going to, so I decided to go the next step and look it up (half anyway) and I guess Chad’s using a hybrid WAR in the article above, because baseball-reference does have Hudson posting a 3.7 WAR in 2011, but a 5.3 in 2010 (adding up to 9 over the past 2 seasons).

    • Chad

      Did you even read my post at all?

      • Chad

        I actually like and trust FanGraphs more than Baseball Reference. The main reason I use baseball reference is because they allow me to create a table with their content and insert it into my blog posts. FYI.

      • Chad

        FanGraphs has much better analysis and commentary on their site in comparison to baseball reference. B-R is extremely valuable, though. They have tools that are unique to their site that makes them stand out in comparison to other sites, the baseball play lookup to be specific for you, Georgie. As I stated in my response, I like FanGraphs more, but use baseball reference as frequently as the other.

        Now, to the ridiculousness of your request:
        You can go through my posts and see how much I use FanGraphs. That is something that I will not do. I don’t have the time, bro.

        I will refer you to a post I did a few months back arguing against FanGraphs and their use of advanced stats. The reasons were Derek Lowe and Jair Jurrjens, specifically. They overvalue Lowe and undervalue Jurrjens. The post title was something like ‘Is Lowe the anti-sabermetrics pitcher?’ or something like that. If you give me until tonight, I will find that article and post the link.

        Which brings me to this point: FanGraphs and B-R are valuable tools. They should be used to understand the values of players. However, they are not law. Sometimes they say things like Lowe is better than he is and Hudson is worse than he is. It’s our responsibility to determine if that is factual or up for debate.

        In my post, I claimed that Hudson has been the most consistent and valuable pitcher for the Braves the past two seasons. FanGraphs does not refute that, but supports it. Now, if you want to debate Hudson’s value against the rest of the league, that is for another blog entry. That wasn’t what I was trying to prove in my last post.

        And so you stop bringing it up, I went to Samford because UA did not have my degree. I’m still a Bama fan and have been since I was a child.

      • Chad
  • Hugh G. Rection

    I’m probably alone on this, but I think George is hilarious. Individual posts aren’t particularly funny, mostly really poorly written snark, but his relentlessness is what makes it all funny.

    I think Hudson will be about as effective as usual this year, which is to say good but not playoff ace good. We need Hanson to step up to advance in the playoffs, if we make them.

    This post does read as a backhanded compliment to Huddy, really…but that seems about right to me.

    • Chad

      How is it a backhanded compliment?

  • Scotty Duttuno

    lol theres alot fo hostitity here i guess yall all hate me cuz i’m a big vols football fan but we suck now so you shouldn’t care much even though we used to be rivals except auburn and i don’t know much about these stats you guys use they seem silly to me we can all see huddy is good even if he did go to auburn lol

    • Chad

      No hostility on my part. I am glad that you comment, Scotty.

  • Ben Dover

    There is no doubt that Hudson is essential to the Braves. He is a big reason they have made and came close to making the playoffs the past two seasons. He has reclaimed some of the success he had back with the A’s.

    I think all that Chad is saying is that Hudson is important and that he hopes he doesn’t miss a lot of time. That’s all.

    I don’t think college sports has anything to do with this blog at all. The Pac 12 is the best conference in collegiate athletics.

  • Chief Locked Heart

    I like fangraphs too, overall. I view their pitching WAR as more “experimental” than an actually accurate measure of a pitcher’s value…in previous seasons at least. There is an argument to be made that undervaluing outs made on balls in play is better for predicting future performace…but that’s not really a part of this.

    Either way, fangraphs’ WAR (according to this post, I haven’t looked for myself) has Hudson as the Braves’ most valuable pitcher over the past 2 seasons. baseball-reference’s WAR has him on the short list of most valuable pitchers in MLB over the past 2 seasons.