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October 10, 2010

Analyze This

Foretelling Tim Hudson's Comeback

by Jesse Behr

Analyze This is a weekly blog series in which Special Assistant Jesse Behr looks at a variety of intriguing and comparable stats that could stir up some discussion. Today, we'll discuss Atlanta’s gamble to trade Javier Vazquez and extend Tim Hudson’s contract.

I'd like to follow up on my Vazquez post from last week in which I showed the disaster that was his 2010 season with New York. When Atlanta traded Vazquez, it was with the intention that Tim Hudson (who was coming off Tommy John surgery and made just seven starts in 2009) would take Vazquez’s place in the rotation. The Braves staff was already a packed house with Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe, and Kenshin Kawakami, and the team could not afford to keep Vazquez’s $11.5 million contract as well as pick up Hudson’s $12 million option.

When comparing the two, Hudson has consistently been the better pitcher (career 3.42 ERA), but Vazquez was coming off the best year of his career (15-10, 2.87 ERA) and didn’t have the handicap of a surgically-repaired elbow. Here’s how the two ended up faring in 2010:

Player

GS

IP

W-L

ERA

BB

SO

BABIP

WHIP

SIERA

Tim Hudson

34

228.2

17-9

2.83

74

139

.253

1.15

3.70

Javier Vazquez

26

157.1

10-10

5.32

65

121

.274

1.40

4.54

And here are the differences in their polar-opposite season values:

Player

SNLAR

SNWP

WARP

VORP

Hudson

7.8

.617

8.0

60.8

Vazquez

0.7

.427

1.3

-1.7

Hudson, who earned NL Comeback Player of the Year honors, started Game Three of the NLDS, whereas Vazquez will be lucky to see any playing time in the postseason. Now to end with a question: Was this really just a gamble by GM Frank Wren, or was there more to the move than meets the eye?

Jesse Behr is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jesse's other articles. You can contact Jesse by clicking here

3 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Playoff Prospectus: LD... (10/09)
<< Previous Column
Analyze This: Javier V... (10/03)
Next Column >>
Analyze This: How the ... (10/29)
Next Article >>
Playoff Prospectus: Su... (10/10)

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