Who is Tim Hudson?
When I mention the name Tim Hudson, it’s hard not to let the gruesome image of his ankle snapping across first base be the first thing that comes to mind. You’re probably wondering how an aging veteran, just a few years shy of 40 and coming off an injury, could possibly be appealing or even considered a sleeper in fantasy baseball drafts this year.
The first thing that should give you hope is the fact that he was pitching well before he got injured. In his last full season in the majors, he finished with a 16-7 record over 28 starts with a 3.62 ERA, and last season, he went 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA over 21 starts. This season, the Giants put their confidence in Hudson by signing him to a two-year, $23 million dollar contract, and Hudson is ready to prove he still has something left in his tank.
2014 Season Outlook
Any time a player is coming off an injury like Hudson's, there is some concern, especially when it looks as bad as his did. Luckily for Hudson, all indications from Spring Training are that his ankle injury shouldn’t be an issue in 2014. His performances have been imperfect, but strong, as he throws upwards of 100 pitches to get back on track and comfortable on the mound. Beyond his injury, his age is also a concern, as he takes on yet another long MLB season. He has always relied more on command and finesse than velocity, and his Spring Training performances indicate that he’s still as consistent as ever. He’s never been one to win many hearts in the strikeout category, and that won’t be any different this season. He should be able to make up for it in the win column, just as he’s done most of his career. Having Brandon Crawford’s golden glove behind him should well complement his tendency to draw ground balls, and AT&T’s pitcher-friendly atmosphere should benefit him as well. As he uses his veteran status to provide wisdom around his new clubhouse, fellow starter Tim Lincecum seems to be learning from some of the veteran's key fundamentals-- keep the ball low and pitch to contact. Expect more of that from Hudson this season as he keeps his WHIP down, which has always been a strong category for the right-hander.
Where To Draft Him
When it comes to Hudson, you know what you’re getting. He’s won more games than almost any other pitcher still in the game, and his experience keeps him even-keeled and focused on the mound. You won’t be worried about which version of Hudson you’re going to get each time he takes the mound, and you can have unshakeable confidence in his consistency. His ankle issue is behind him, and his extended off-season provided plenty of time to rest up for the coming year. Don’t expect any fireworks, but as a #5 SP, Hudson’s floor is high and he should provide great late-round value. With an ADP ranging from 265 to 313, you can feel confident snagging him as a fantasy baseball sleeper anytime around 300.