Healthy Hudson shouldn't come cheap

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I couldn’t help but have a different take on Dave O’Brien’s Tim Hudson piece than Craig did this morning.
My take being that O’Brien should stick to writing about the Braves and give up trying to predict the free agent market.
From O’Brien:

There’s no doubt in my mind (Hudson would) take quite a bit less than $12 mill per season to stay here in a multi-year extension, probably less than $10 mill per. And I don’t think any other team would offer him even that much right now, not until he’s back for a full, healthy and strong season.

I’m not going to argue against the idea that Hudson would take less to stay in Atlanta. But the idea that Hudson will need to settle for less than $10 million or even $12 million per year is bizarre.
Let’s just look back at last year’s contracts for free agent starting pitchers:
CC Sabathia – seven years, $23 million per year
A.J. Burnett – five years, $16.5 million per year
Derek Lowe – four years, $15 million per year
Ryan Dempster – four years, $13 million per year
Oliver Perez – three years, $12 million per year
Kyle Lohse – four years, $10.25 million per year
Not one of those pitchers can match Hudson’s career 126 ERA+ (ERA adjusted for league and ballpark). Sabathia entered free agency at 121 and is at 123 now. Lowe was also at 121. Burnett, who has never had a season ERA+ as high as 126, came in at 111.
And this year’s class isn’t nearly as strong overall. Other than perhaps wild card Aroldis Chapman, who probably isn’t ready to be an asset now, I see only one starter as a better bet than Hudson on a long-term deal, that being John Lackey.
Even that’s iffy. So what if Hudson underwent Tommy John surgery. He made it back in excellent time, and he’s throwing just as hard now as he was before the procedure. His groundball rate is actually better than ever, though it’s a very small sample size. That he’ll end this year having only thrown 65 innings or so, in my opinion, only makes him a better bet for 2010.
Hudson has been a workhorse throughout his career, and there’s no reason to think he won’t recapture that form now that he has a new elbow ligament. I’d take my chances with him at $50 million-$56 million for four years over Lackey at $75 million-$80 million for five.

Ronald Acuna tops Keith Law’s top-100 prospect list

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ESPN’s Keith Law has released his annual top-100 prospects list. According to Law, Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna is the number one prospect in baseball.

After blazing through High-A and Double-A ball last season, Acuna was the youngest player in Triple-A in 2017. He was 19 years-old all season long and put up a fantastic line of .335/.384/.534 in 486 plate appearances at Double and Triple-A. He then went on to star in the Arizona Fall League, leading that circuit in homers. Law, who is not one to throw hyperbolic comps around, says, “if Acuna stays in center and maxes out his power, he’s going to be among the best players in baseball, with a Mike Trout-ish profile.”

Acuna, who is 20 now, is likely play the bulk of the season in Atlanta, even if he’s kept down at Triple-A for the first couple of weeks of the season to manipulate his service time, er, I mean to allow him to develop his skills more fully. Or something. Given the presence of reigning Gold Glove center fielder Ender Inciarte, Acuna is not likely to man center for the Braves this year, but Law says he’d be a plus right field defender, which could make the Braves outfield Death to Flying Things in 2018. At least when Nick Markakis is not playing.

Number two on the list: Blue Jays third base prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. As law notes, the name may be familiar but he’s not very much like his old man. Mostly because young Vlad can take a walk. Which is better, even if it’s nowhere near as fun as swinging at balls that bounce in the dirt first.

For the other 98, you’ll have to click through.