The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Daniel Hudson to a two-year, $11 million deal in December.
It’s no secret that Daniel Hudson’s first season as a Pittsburgh Pirate hasn’t been the best. There have been plenty of ups and downs. The overall numbers for the veteran right hander and former Arizona Diamondback aren’t pleasant as he sports a 4.62 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 50.2 innings through 58 appearances.
Hudson’s struggles began right out of the gate in the month of April as he allowed 11 earned runs in 10 innings of work. The dreadful start to the season was highlighted by an outing on April 30 against the Miami Marlins. Hudson only last 0.1 of an inning, allowing five earned runs on four hits while hitting a batter and giving up a two-run home run to Justin Bour in the seventh inning of a 10-3 loss.
Prior to that final outing of the month, Hudson had his fair share of good moments and his struggles. He started the year with three straight scoreless outings, but then allowed four earned runs in his next three appearances combined. He bounced back to pitch four scoreless frames in his next four appearances before allowing a pair of earned runs April 26 against the Cubs, leading to his rough showing against the fish.
Given Hudson’s less than appealing start to the year, let’s look to see if he has actually improved as the season has gone on or whether his opening month woes have carried on throughout the year.
Giving up those runs
Believe it or not, after allowing more than 10 runs in the opening month, Hudson settled down a bit. He allowed just eight combined runs in the month of May and June, and pitched 6.2 scoreless innings in July. However, he has gone back to his old ways this month.
In the month of August, which luckily for Hudson is ending at the end of the week, the 30-year old has allowed more runs than he did in the previous three months combined. In 10.1 innings, he has given up nine runs (eight earned). Throughout the prime summer months, Hudson, a former starting pitcher, gave the Pirates quality innings. Well, he had a nice stretch of quality outings at least.
While it looked as if Hudson did indeed improve upon his bad start, his April woes returned to haunt him this month. But, the real question is what has led to Hudson’s rough August?
Trouble with Command
While he has at least one strikeout in 10 of his last 11 outings, Hudson has had issues with command. To be fair, he has had lingering control issues throughout the year, but it has never been more evident than it is now.
After only walking three in the opening month, Hudson walked six batters in 12.1 innings in May followed by walking five in 11.1 innings in June. He walked four in 6.2 innings last month and has walked a season-high eight in 10.1 innings this month.
Hudson has walked more batters this season than he has in years past. Hudson’s current BB/9 rate sits at 4.6, much higher than his 2.7 career average.
Allowing home runs has also become a problem for the former fifth round draft pick. He has allowed seven home runs this year, already matching his season total from 2015, his first full season as a reliever in Arizona. His HR/9 rate sits at 1.2, higher than his 0.9 career rate. His 4.59 FIP is also higher than his career average which is 3.68.
Tough times for Hudson
Based on Hudson’s career numbers, it had to be expected that he would solely serve as an average reliever at best in the Pirates bullpen. However, his play has been lackluster to say the least. Hudson was one of the Pirates few offseason acquisitions and was viewed as a guy who would bolster the Pirates pen.
Hudson, who ranks third amongst Pirates relievers with 58 appearances this season, also ranks first amongst the same relief group in walks (26). He is second in categories such as home runs allowed (7) and runs allowed (30), and has the second highest ERA (4.62) amongst relievers with more than 45 appearances.
Those aren’t exactly the categories a pitcher wants to be on top of. While the Bucs hoped Hudson would spark the bullpen, it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. For a few months, it seemed as if Hudson would recover from his early season struggles, but his less than stellar pitching this month and his overall numbers tell a much different story.