After tearing his labrum in early April, Ryan Ludwick was sidelined over four months before returning to the lineup. He only played 38 games in 2013, batting .240 with just two home runs. Although he is struggling in Spring Training, he is set to start the season in the outfield on Opening Day.
The torn labrum, which occurs when the bones of the shoulder are not held in place sufficiently. Ludwick was forced to have surgery on his shoulder, which could be the reason he struggled to come back and hit for power right away.
Because of a short season in which he struggled, Ludwick is undervalued and was rarely drafted in Fantasy baseball leagues.
When healthy, he provides a decent average with solid power - as shown in his first year with the Cincinnati Reds where he hit .275 with 26 homers in just 125 games.
Currently the everyday starter, Ludwick will have his chance to show his potential, which began while the right-handed slugger was in St. Louis. The 35-year-old still has the potential - when healthy - to hit over 20 home runs and bat around .270.
Throughout his career, Ludwick has maintained a high batting average on balls in play (BABIP), despite his low batting average during some seasons. His career BABIP is .303, showing that, when he makes contact with the ball, his average is very high. However, he strikes out an average of 135 times every 162 games.
His plate discipline is not great, but if he can be more patient at the plate he could surprise fans with a solid season, filling the hole that Choo left in the offseason.
Ludwick is projected to bat fifth in the Cincinnati lineup, behind Billy Hamilton, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, and Jay Bruce. All the hitters in front of him get on base often, opening up plenty of opportunities to drive them in.
He should see a surplus of RBI thanks to Hamilton's ability to steal bases with ease.