St. Louis Cardinals: Forget John Gant, replace Hudson with Austin Gomber
Dakota Hudson has not been getting the job done so far and needs to regain confidence. Who’s the best man on the St. Louis Cardinals to replace him if his lack of performance continues?
The St. Louis Cardinals pitching rotation has been a point of weakness this year so far and while it is still relatively early, we are just about to the quarter mark of the season. Currently sitting in 3rd place but just a game and a half out of first place, they are plenty close to remain in the dogfight for the NL Central.
But something has to change with this rotation and currently, Dakota Hudson is the weakest link. After not allowing a homer last year, the young righty has allowed 9 so far this year and is averaging just over 4 innings per start. His 4.63 ERA isn’t horrible, but it’s not going to cut it. With a WHIP of 1.771, the problem is clear- too many walks and hits allowed.
The basis for this issue in my mind is that Hudson has lost the confidence in his stuff that he had coming out of the bullpen last season. He’s nibbling on the edges of the zone and walking too many. The best way for him to get confidence back in my eyes is for him to go down to AAA and carve up players there for a bit.
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Now, I’m not calling for a move right now, but if it’s two weeks from now, I believe there should be a move made. The division is simply too good for there to be a pitcher that doesn’t perform consistently in the rotation. Yesterday, Christian May-Suzuki wrote that if the Cardinals make a move down the line, John Gant should replace Hudson. I disagree.
John Gant has been one of the best relievers out of the bullpen and given how shaky it has been in the past and at times this season, the team needs him as a pillar out there to lean on. Plugging him into the starting rotation may work to help there, but would open a leak out in the bullpen. The solution would need to come from AAA.
Austin Gomber has been proving his worth at Memphis so far this year. The two-headed dragon of him and Daniel Ponce de Leon has been stellar for the Redbirds and while Ponce could be a good option as well, my guy would be Gomber.
So far this year, Gomber has just a 2.82 ERA over seven starts and has excelled mostly through striking guys out and limiting walks. His current line of 10.3 SO/9 may be slightly inflated but paired with just a 3.3 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9 has kept his ERA down.
Last year, Gomber was good-not-great in his time with the big club but the former minor league pitcher of the year is now 25 and can be a great stopgap for Hudson. Not that I’m a big believer in requiring a lefty in the rotation, but Gomber’s handedness may help against the lefty-heavy lineups that many teams have displayed against the Cardinals this year.
Hudson is in no way a bust, he just needs a bit of a reset. At 24-years-old he will be fine in the long run but Austin Gomber is throwing very well at AAA and would be a great replacement in the meantime. Again, I am not calling for Hudson’s head today, but if his performance doesn’t improve, this move has to happen.