American League Division Winner Prediction Poll

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Huddy by the Bay

Back on November 18, 2013 when the San Francisco Giants came to terms with Tim Hudson on a 2 year – $23M deal a little piece of me died inside. Being a long time Braves fan who had followed Hudson ever since he played NCAA baseball in the neighboring state of Alabama with the Auburn Tigers, it was hard to imagine him leaving Atlanta.  Being a Braves fan growing himself it was easy to imagine Huddy staying with the Braves for the remainder of his career, however the ground work was laid for him to leave in July 2013 when a freak accident ended his season prematurely.  Suffering a broken ankle there were many that figured Hudson may retire from baseball altogether, but he had different ideas.

After not being offered the $14.1M qualifying offer from the Braves who figured to sign him for much less and effectively becoming a free agent, Hudson, still rehabbing his injury came to an agreement with the Giants that will see him return to the Bay Area where he began his All-Star career with the Oakland Athletics in 1999 where he was part of the Big 3 with Mark Mulder and Barry Zito (Although he was the only one mentioned in the Moneyball movie)

Tim  Hudson

After coming to grips with the deal and one of my favorite pitchers leaving my favorite team, I decided to do a little research on how he fared against what will be his main competition in the National League West.  As you can see from the stats below, just like his career stats Hudson has had a tremendous amount of success against teams in the NL West; however you will note a lot of this appears to have come at home in Turner Field.

At NL West Parks                       W  L    ERA   G   GS   WHIP   SO/9   SO/BB
COL-Coors Fld                                  0 2      7.41    6     6      1.676        7.1        1.93
LAD-Dodger Stad                             1  3      4.47    8    8      1.489        6.2        1.88
ARI-Chase Field                               4  1      1.87     6    6      1.085       6.9        3.00
SDP-PetCo Pk                                   1  1      3.91    5     4      1.522        6.3        1.78
SFG-AT&T Pk                                  3  3      3.81    8    8      1.231        4.8        2.00
                                                            9 10    4.29  33   32   1.400     6.26       2.12

Against NL West Teams         W  L     ERA   G   GS   WHIP    SO/9   SO/BB     Arizona Diamondbacks                   7    1      2.18     11   11      1.06        6.9        2.61                     Colorado Rockies                             5    2      4.35     11   11      1.28        6.1        1.85                     Los Angeles Dodgers                      6    4       3.49    14   14      1.24        6.6        2.64                     San Diego Padres                            6    1       2.80    13   12      1.284      7.2         2.81                   San Francisco Giants                      8    5      3.51     18   18      1.162      5.3         2.47                                                                             32  13   3.27    67   66    1.205      6.4       2.48

So what can San Francisco Giants fans expect from the now 38 year old hurler? Well, I wouldn’t expect much more that what we have seen in his last 2 1/2 seasons in Atlanta which comprised of an average of 13 wins, 27 starts, 175 inn, ERA+ 110, SO/9-6.1 and a WHIP of 1.174.  With age soon to be catching up, Hudson will more than likely see his innings limited in order to keep him fresh throughout the long season; although it would not surprise me to see him make his 30 starts for the Giants in 2014 as I am positive the competitor in him will feel like has something to prove.  The pitcher friendly confines of AT&T Park should also help with the right-hander’s rebound in 2014.

Beyond his contributions on the mound Giants fans can expect Hudson to make a noticeable impact in the clubhouse, especially with the other starting pitchers such as Tim Lincecum , Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain .  The biggest impact may be seen with Lincecum whose struggles the past few seasons to overcome the loss of velocity and mechanical issues are well documented.  While Hudson has never really had mechanical issues throughout his career he has battled through back issues and ligament replacement surgery (Tommy John) in August 2008.  Both of which combined with natural aging put to the test his well known work ethic as well as his overall velocity which has seen a slight decline over the past several seasons. Personally, I’d look for Lincecum to rebound in 2014 with a new extension (2 yrs/$35M) and Hudson at his disposal for any assistance he may require.

So, Giants fans please enjoy the treat that is Tim Hudson.  I am sure you will come to appreciate the fiery competitive veteran in your rotation as much as this Braves fan has over the past 8 seasons.

Last but not least, please Beat LA.

Suk-Min Yoon: Interest is there, is it worth it?

It appears a new name has been tossed in the proverbial FA pitching hat this off-season. The new free agent pitcher who has recently made his intentions known is the 27-year-old, 6’0 ft, 187 lb right hander, Suk-Min Yoon of the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball League (KBO).  Teams that have been linked to the slender righty are the Giants, Rangers, Orioles and Cubs.

Yoon, has posted some decent numbers in his 9 years in the KBO, but has recently shown some wear and tear with a shoulder ailment that slowed him down last season and limited his innings in 2013 as a reliever and starter, as can be attested by his 87 2/3 posted for the Tigers.

suk
Statistics courtesy of http://www.mykbo.net

Although I can understand the desire for Yoon, to make his way to the MLB, I honestly don’t believe he will garner the same interest of his fellow KBO counterpart Hyun-jin Ryu

Here’s why:

After watching several videos of Yoon throwing in the KBO, I have come to notice a tell in his pitch delivery, especially his change-up.  Although a very effective pitch with lots of movement and depth Yoon has a nasty little habit of slowing his arm speed down to deliver the pitch. {please see 0:16 and 0:40 of the video above to watch his typical fastball delivery in comparison to 0:05 and 1:10 for his change-up} This particular habit may not be as noticeable to the less than MLB caliber hitters in the KBO, however major league hitters will decipher this tell in short order with the help of video and scouting reports.

Not only does this change in delivery provide hitters with the ability to lay-off this pitch it also provides some unnecessary strain on a pitchers shoulder.  Trying to slow down an arm mid delivery is incredibly dangerous  and I am suspecting this may be a leading cause to his under reported arm issue stated above.

I suspect with the massive needs for quality arms in baseball he will be offered a contract sometime this spring, however he will not see a lot of time if any in a starting rotation until this issue is addressed. Best guess is short-term this pitch will be shelved leaving him with 2 quality pitches which could be plenty in a relief role.

If Yoon does sign do not look for same contract of 6 years/$36M that Ryu received from the Dodgers.  Of course, I could be wrong and this article may have been an exercise in futility, however I trust my eyes and believe he will get at most a 2 year deal with options possible and for a lot less money and fanfare than Ryu.