May 8, Phoenix – So the streak is now over. We learned on Monday night that Orlando Hudson is human and he actually played in a game and did not reach safely in that game. For the first 33 games, he managed his way on base..someway or somehow. Though he did drive in one of the incredibly rare runs in his team’s win over Philly with a sac fly, we now take a quick look at where he stands after not touching first base cleanly.
As Bob Melvin toyed with his lineup this spring and still toys with it on occasion, Hudson has found his home in the 3-spot, you know the one where the best all-around hitters live. In comparison to all other number three hitters in the big leagues, there aren’t many who compare to Orlando. His 43 hits are second to Derrek Lee’s 46, while his 26 RBI’s are more than any three hole hitter, David Ortiz is second with 25.
When comparing him to all second basemen in both leagues, only Placido Polanco’s 44 hits stack up higher and Chase Utley is even with Hudson and his 26 RBI’s. BJ Upton is hitting .379, Polanco .361 and Orlando .333.
So whether he is matched up with his peers in the batting order or his fellow second sackers, he is in fabulous company. His last 20 at bats right handed have netted 8 hits after he struggled from that side early in the season. Since 2003, his batting average has risen each year as well as his RBI total. We haven’t even mentioned that in the last two years of that timeline, he has taken home a Gold Glove.
If he keeps this up (and I realize that it’s early), he will reach 200 hits. Only one time in the history of the Diamondbacks has a hitter climbed that mountain, it was Luis Gonzalez in 1999.
Now here’s the best part, Orlando respects the game, his teammates, his opponents and the game’s history as much as anyone I’ve ever covered. When I asked him about facing Tom Glavine the other night he told me he was honored to take his cuts against him because of all the left hander had accomplished in this game and made sure to mention to me that he was a sure fire Hall of Famer. Then he respectfully launched one over the wall against the soon to be 300 game winner.
In the next few days, we’ll talk about the impact of family with Benji Molina and Billy Wagner. See you at the ballpark.