#48 / Outfielder / Cincinnati Reds
Weight: 215 lbs.
Born: July 13, 1978 (Age 33)
After Uncle Walt shored up the pitching staff this off-season with the acquisitions of Latos, Marshall and Madson, the last item he had left to check off of his shopping list was a platoon partner for Chris Heisey in left field. Enter, Walt's former Cardinal buddy, Ryan Ludwick. There was a good deal of hand wringing when this move was made around these parts, and for good reason. Ludwick's numbers have been trending in the wrong direction since his career year in 2008, and he all but bottomed out in 2011. But aside from Carlos Beltran, the pickings were rather slim in the free agent outfielder market this year, so it's hard to get too worked up over a 1 year, 2.5 million dollar deal.
There is no getting around the fact that Ludwick was pretty terrible last year. His .237/.310/.363 line in 2011 was the worst since he has been an everyday player (since 2007). His BABIP, WAR, wOBA, ISO and OPS+ were also the lowest in that same time frame. But, there are reasons to be optimistic for a bump up in his stats, at least in the power department, considering that GABP is a much more hitter friendly park for righties than both Petco and PNC Park. The switch could add to his HR totals, and platooning with Heisey could keep Ludwick fresh through the season. On the other hand, there is also the chance that he continues performing at or below replacement level while Dusty gives him the majority of starts in left field, due to SSS splits and veteran presence, and before you know it, he's this year's EdRent/SloCab/CoPat/T-Virus. But, hey, it's the off-season and hope springs eternal, right? More on the new guy after the jump.
- He is a rare right-handed batting, left -handed throwing position player. Cody Ross, another free agent outfielder the Reds had interest in this off-season, also bats right and throws left.
- Ludwick, much like Chris Heisey, has wacky reverse platoon splits (.272/.339/.455 v. RHP .237/.310/.363 v. LHP), albeit in a much larger sample size.
- I'm too lazy to fact-check this, but with the addition of Ludwick and Madson (as well as Hanigan), the Reds have 3 Ryans on the 25-man roster. Which I'm going to say is the most in the Majors.
- He was named to the Baseball America All-Freshman Team in 1997 while playing for UNLV.
- Ryan's older brother Eric was a major league pitcher that played for four teams over four seasons with a 52 ERA+ in 74.1 IP.
- Injuries nearly derailed his career before it began when he sustained a stress fracture in his hip in 2002 and ended up needing two knee surgeries during the 2004 season.
- Despite being born in Florida and growing up in Las Vegas, Ludwick has southern Ohio roots. He has family from Georgetown, Ohio and he claims his favorite player growing up was Eric Davis and the Reds were his favorite team.
- Ludwick was a classmate of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch at Durango Valley High in Las Vegas.
- He has a son named Stetson. I guess he's really in to cowboy hats.
Ducky Ludwick (h/t Scrabbles), Ludwick von Beethoven, Luddy, The Luddite Fallacy
Bill James: .249/.325/.426 .323 wOBA
ZiPS: .253/.322/.430 .326 wOBA
RotoChamp: .242/.320/.393 .313 wOBA