Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
It's one of the most basic of all arguments - experience versus youth. Today's comparison couldn't be clearer.
In one corner, we have three-time All-Star and 2000 AL Cy Young runner-up Tim Hudson. He'll be facing off against 23-year-old Daniel Hudson who has started just 16 games in his major league "career."
Both pitchers are coming off excellent seasons.
The veteran Tim Hudson, who missed almost all of 2009, produced well above expectations. In fact, there was very little interest in the Braves hurler heading into the season after a mediocre 2008 season and Tommy John surgery that cost him all but seven starts in 2009.
But he fooled almost everyone, putting together a very good season made even better because he was likely either a late-round selection or a free agent pickup in most leagues. What his fantasy owners and the Braves got was his best season in seven years. He posted a 17-9 record, his most wins since 2001 with an excellent ERA of 2.83 and a WHIP of 1.15.
Daniel Hudson started the season with the Chicago White Sox, but was traded to Arizona in a deal that sent Edwin Jackson to the Windy City. At the time, Daniel had some "ugly" statistics - 1-1, 6.32 ERA, 1.79 WHIP in three starts.
However, Daniel Hudson thrived in the NL West. He made 11 starts for the Diamondbacks, going 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.841 WHIP over 79.2 innings. He was easily Arizona's best pitcher down the stretch.
So the question of the day is which pitcher would you rather have on your 2011 fantasy roster?
The first question that must be answered is if the 23-year old's numbers are for real. Can he reproduce those statistics in 2011?
Daniel Hudson made a quick rise through the minors after being a fifth-round selection in the 2008 Amateur Draft. In three minor league seasons, he averaged 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings. He is still striking out a lot of batters in the majors - at a 7.9 K's per nine innings clip. And in the weak- hitting NL West, he should be able to post solid ERA and WHIP numbers, though maybe not as good as in 2010. Still, he's a very good pitcher in a very good situation.
Which makes it difficult to figure why fantasy owners are ignoring him at the moment. Even at the end of last season, he was only owned in about 80% of all leagues. And early drafts have him being selected in the middle rounds which makes him a prime candidate for a "Best Bargain Award." He's currently about the 35th pitcher off-the-board, though obviously higher in keeper leagues.
The Tim Hudson question is not whether he has the ability to post numbers like last season, but whether he will at age 36? Over his 12-year career, Tim has pitched 2,288 innings - that's a lot of wear-and-tear on the elbow and shoulder. He's not a strikeout artist, but he does go late into games which gives him a better chance to get the decision.
Neither pitcher is a No.1 starter, but could be a solid No.3. If you are looking for strikeouts and are willing to risk it with a "lightly-raced" pitcher - Daniel is your guy. If you want as little risk as possible then Tim is your choice.
Which pitcher to select all depends on the qualities you need and what your current pitching staff already has. Both should give you solid fantasy production in 2011, but in this situation, youth will be served - select Daniel Hudson.