When the Arizona Diamondbacks received Daniel Hudson from the White Sox in exchange for Edwin Jackson, there were questions about Daniel Hudson major league future, namely about his potential. We knew what he could do in the minors, but needed an extended major league stint to truly value his long-term value.
From a less nerdy, and more scouty perspective, Hudson has a very low arm-angle when he pitches, especially for someone who stands 6’4”. While it’s not what I would recommend, it could be one of the reasons he fools hitters. His fastball sits at 92 mph, and he compliments it with a changeup that has some nice arm-side run. In fact, if he qualified, it would be the best change in baseball, thanks to a nice 26% whiff rate.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding Hudson was his extreme fly ball tendencies. While his tiny GB% will help his BABIP thanks to Arizona’s impressive outfield defense, it will lead to allowing more homers, a problem that while manageable, could be a big deal because of where he plays.
It really doesn’t matter what you look at, Hudson has been fantastic this year. He’s striking out almost a batter an inning, limiting the walks, and going deep into games. Sure, he’s had some luck on his side, but you can’t ask for much more from a pitchers who only 23. But we still haven’t answered the essential question: What’s his potential, and what’s his keeper value?
Like I said in Friday’s chat, I don’t think Hudson can be an Ace. However, he can be a good number two or three starter on a good team, and he’s a guy you will want pitching in the playoffs. While he’ll never have an ERA as low as it is now, he could easily win 12-15 games with an ERA under 3.50 as early as next season. Because he wasn’t drafted early this year, he has fantastic keeper value going into next year. He won’t be cheap in drafts, but if you already have him on your roster, keep him there as long as possible.