Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 1/2/12
Key Stats: Over the last two seasons Tim Hudson has averaged 17 wins, 148 strikeouts, a 3.02 ERA, and a 1.15 WHIP. Quite impressive given that he's putting these years together at age 34 and 35 while being out after Tommy John surgery for most of his age 33 season. Even more impressive when you consider that he's been pitching with a herniated disk in his back for most of this time. 

Skeptics Say: Hudson is expected to be fine, but perhaps there are complications after surgery or something else that crops up during the year. That's just normal for a 36-year-old throwing a 100-plus pitches every fifth day. Let's also keep in mind that last season was Hudson's lowest groundball rate since 2002. It dropped more than 7% from where it was in 2010 while the line drive rate rose about 5%. 

Peer Comparison: With a little bit of luck this season, Hudson could get to 200 career wins. He needs 19 wins in order to get there which is asking a lot, but certainly isn't impossible. Here are some pitchers that have won 19 or more after they turned 36 in the last ten years:

Player

Age

Season

Wins

Mike Mussina

39

2008

20

Curt Schilling

37

2004

21

Jamie Moyer

38

2003

21

Randy Johnson

38

2002

24

David Wells

39

2002

19


The key here is of course that after the 2004 season, only one pitcher has done it. Pitchers are too closely guarded this day and age, and also the cloud of steroids and PEDs (we hope) has essentially been eliminated from the game. There is no reason to believe that Hudson can't get somewhere between 14 to 16 wins though. His WHIP was under 1.30 in every month and under 1.15 in every month except September. In that last month he was probably pitching on fumes with the back problems, so he has the consistency factor on his side which is what a pitcher needs to win. 

Team Outlook: It didn't hurt Hudson that the Braves posted a league best 3.03 bullpen ERA when he left the game. The problem could end up being that they were also third in bullpen innings pitched. Jonny Venters was easily first in baseball in appearances, Craig Kimbrel was tied for second, and Eric O'Flaherty was tied for fifth. Venters and Kimbrel were significantly worse in September during the Braves historic collapse, so it will be interesting to see how they bounce back and if Fredi Gonzalez alters the way he uses them this season. 

What They're Saying: CBS Sportstline: #31 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #35 Starting Pitcher & #133 Overall; RotoChamp: #91 Overall

Projection: Hudson can be classified as a "boring pick" because there isn't any upside to him, but the numbers in key stats would help any fantasy team at around this point in the draft. Given the consistency he's had going back to before Tommy John Surgery he won't simply fall off the map as his physical skills start to erode a little. 
16 wins 3.37 ERA 1.18 WHIP 149 K in 217 innings 
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