Monday, April 14, 2008

Flapjacks Trade - Tim Hudson for Adam Jones/Hiroki Kuroda

As I like to do, let's look at the most recent trade in my Yahoo H2H keeper league.

1. Summer Fox (Rogstad) trades Tim Hudson to Naterade (Nate) for Adam Jones and Hiroki Kuroda.

Adam Jones was part of the haul that Baltimore received from Seattle for Erik Bedard. Jones is a highly-touted prospect who has been compared to Torii Hunter and Mike Cameron, both for his defense and his bat. Last year in AAA at the fairly young age of 21, Jones hit .314 with 25 HR and a .968 OPS. Fantasy projections for his first full year in the big leagues have him hitting any where from .255 to .284, 6 to 22 HR, and 6 to 12 SB. Jones is currently hitting .211 with no HR in eleven games.

Hiroki Kuroda is a groundball pitcher from Japan, playing his first season in the majors. He currently has a 1-1 record with a 2.13 ERA and is holding opponents to a .240 BA over 12.2 innings. He's been doing a good job of keeping the ball on the ground, with a 1.46 GB/FB ratio. Most projections have him finishing the season with an ERA around 4.00 with limited upside for strikeouts.

Tim Hudson was one of the league's better pitchers in his early days with Oakland, though he has had some struggles since coming over to Atlanta. He's more of a control pitcher these days, and with his declining K/9 rate, he's less likely to post solid strikeout numbers any more. He's been dominant in his first three starts this season, with only two walks and an opponents' batting average of .167. Hudson is a reliable pitcher, averaging 32 starts a year since 2000, and he should be a top-30 pitcher for the year.

Rogstad will have a decent pitching staff once John Lackey comes off the DL, anchored by a strong bullpen and by solid starters like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Fausto Carmona. By trading away Hudson, he gets a decent pitcher in Kuroda and a possible future All Star to build his team around in Jones. Though Hudson is the best player in the deal, it is extremely unlikely that Hudson can continue his current success in limiting hits; he has a below-average strikeout rate and his Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) of .203 is unsustainable. BABIP tends to revert to a mean of around .300; Hudson's career BABIP average is .289. Hudson will still finish the year as a top-30 pitcher, but he'll probably struggle a bit once batted balls start to find their way through the defense. For Nate, Tim Hudson helps bolster a pitching staff that could lack depth if young pitchers Francisco Liriano, Johnny Cueto, and Chad Billingsley struggle.

Though not as extreme of a groundball-pitcher as Hudson, Kuroda has been striking out batters at a slightly better rate. The fear with Japanese pitchers is that they will tire over the course of a longer season, such as Kaz Ishii, who had an impressive win streak with the Dodgers over the first half of the 2002 season before imploding over the last three months. Kuroda has limited upside; at his best, he should provide numbers slightly behind Hudson's.

The main appeal of this deal for Rogstad would be the upside of Jones. Most of Rogstad's established stars are starting to enter their declining years, and with Brandon Phillips the only All-Star on Rogstad's squad entering his prime, Rogstad is looking to acquire some young potential All-Stars to build around. Jones will not be that player this year - his walk rate is horribly low and he's been hitting the ball on the ground too often to take advantage of his power - but he could be very good in a couple of years once he learns how to be patient at the plate. Rogstad can afford to stash Jones on the bench for a while until he starts to figure things out.

In a year or two this trade could swing father into Rogstad's favor, but for right now I think it is a pretty fair trade. Both team's get something they want, with Rogstad playing for the future and Nate building pitching depth for this season.


Jonathan B said...

wait are you saying japanese people get tired quicker? Takeru Kobayashi might have something to say to that...or 63 things...

Jonathan B said...

more power rankings!!!

Nathanael said...

you should do a poll where people vote on who won the trade or maybe if its good for both, bad for both, etc