Evaluating the rumored St. Louis Cardinals-Nolan Arenado trade package
By Kevin Larson
Hudson is a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher with just over a year of Major League experience. He pitched 174.2 innings last season and had a 16-7 record. It led to him accumulating an fWAR of 1.0 with an ERA of 3.35.
On the outside, that ERA looks appealing and his ERA- of 79 looks pretty good as well. However, that’s balanced out with an FIP of 4.93 and an FIP- of 114. That FIP- is similar to Antonio Senzatela‘s (116).
His BB% in 2019 was 11.4% and his K% was 18.0%. That BB% would be the highest in the Rockies rotation among starters with at least 60 IP and that K% would rank fourth behind Marquez, Gray and Hoffman. He did post a high 56.9% GB%, which would be the highest on the Rockies (just edging out Senzatela’s 53.8%). His Hard Hit Percentage of 40.5% would sandwich him between Freeland and Hoffman as the highest of the Rockies starters last season.
We shouldn’t be terribly harsh on Hudson, though, because that was his rookie season as there will be room for improvement in certain areas. We need to consider future value as well. Per FanGraphs, Hudson’s topped out on his fastball (rated at a 70), slider (rated at 55) and cutter (also at 55). He has room for improvement on his command (currently 40/45). And for his Future Value, Fangraphs has him rated at a 45 (50 is the rating for an average ball player).
For reference, Peter Lambert‘s current Future Value is at a 50.
Based off this, Hudson seems to fit in near the back end of a rotation. He did have a bit of success with the Cardinals in terms of his Win-Loss record, but as we know now pitcher wins aren’t everything. With more things to work on, it may be tough putting him into an environment like Coors Field as he tries to improve on some of his statistics that need work, such as his HR/FB%. Last season it sat at 19.8% while in the minors it was at 6.7% in AA in 2017 and 1.3% in AAA in 2018.
Hudson may be a risk to try to develop further at Coors Field and his success in a Rockies rotation would seem to be a wild card. However, the Rockies (and any team really) are always going to be in the market for needing young controllable starting pitchers. It’s just whether this moves the needle enough or not.