Buy Low takes a look at fantasy players who are slumping or generally
aren't instilling much confidence in their owners. These players can be
targeted via trade or on the waiver wire and, upon a return to form,
can help you win your fantasy leagues. Today's Buy Low focuses on Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Daniel Hudson
Daniel Hudson posted a 7-1 record with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP in 11 starts with the Diamondbacks last year. After a strong finish last season, Hudson left fantasy owners excited about his potential in 2011.
However, through four starts in 2011, Daniel looked like a completely different pitcher, allowing 16 earned runs and walking 12 hitters in 24 1/3 innings, and posting four consecutive losses. Although he struck out 9.6 hitters per nine innings (K/9) over those four starts, fantasy owners grew frustrated and wondered if Hudson would ever get back on track.
Since beginning the season 0-4, Hudson has turned things around in a major way for the Diamondbacks. In his last four starts, Hudson is 3-1, with a 3.04 ERA, has a 22-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and has allowed zero home runs. His slow start could be attributed to a few factors, but it's likely because of his uncharacteristic command issues. After walking 12 batters in his first four starts, Daniel has walked a total of four hitters in his last four outings.
One skill of Hudson's game that has always been attractive for fantasy owners is his ability to strike batters out. Prior to 2011, he had a 7.7 K/9 ratio in his brief big league career, and he posted a 7.9 K/9 ratio alone in 2010. To help put Hudson's strikeout numbers in perspective, all big league pitchers averaged 7.1 K/9 last season, and starting pitchers averaged 6.8 K/9. In eight starts this year, Hudson has struck out 8.5 hitters per nine innings.
Another coveted skill of Hudson's fantasy game is the command of his three pitches, a skill that he's demonstrated throughout his career in both the minor and major leagues. In 310 career minor league innings, Hudson walked a total of 87 hitters, and early on in his big league career he's walked just 52 batters in 165 innings.
In closing, the time to acquire Hudson on the cheap may have passed, given his recent success over his last four starts. However, if there's an owner who is still concerned about Hudson moving forward, especially after the three earned runs he allowed against the San Francisco Giants earlier in the week, it may still be possible to acquire Hudson for less than his actual value. In addition to having two of the three pitching skills desired from all fantasy starting pitchers, facing hitters in the National League West also gives his value a boost.