Drafting this year, how could someone have taken Hudson over Carlos Zambrano?
There were more question marks surrounding Hudson (health, switching leagues) than there were Zambrano. Lets examine the two categorically:
Wins: Should be fairly equal. The Braves will probably end up as the better ballclub, but pitching in the NL Central should even out any advantage Hudson may have had.
ERA: Slight edge to Zambrano. Zambrano was coming off a good 2004 campaign. He's relatively young so he should improve upon those numbers. Hudson, meanwhile, was coming to the NL, so his ERA should drop, but last year he didn't look as effective as he had in years past.
WHIP: About even. Hudson has the better historical numbers, but Zambrano should improve upon his 1.22 WHIP, which was control related more than anything else. Young pitchers often experience control issues and as they mature and the BB's come down, so does the .BAA (not seeing as many hittable pitches).
K: Undeniable edge to Zambrano. Should ring up 50+ more K than Hudson.
All this in front of you, how could anyone have taken Hudson over Zambrano. In most mocks I saw, they were going around the same time. By taking Zambrano, you were basically getting Hudson with a bonus of strikeouts. That allowed you to pass on a higher round closer pick like Lidge and grab a Hoffman later on, since the K's were a wash once you add in the extra Zambrano was going to bring. The difference between Lidge and Hoffman on the draft board was humongous (5+ rounds).
Besides all this, Zambrano has the physical attributes that Hudson doesn't. He's got the size to go with the talent. To me, Hudson is just a smart pitcher.