2013 Reds

Redleg Nation 2013 Preview: Ryan Ludwick

Ryan Ludwick
2012 Slash Line: .275/.346/.531
2013 Projection: .270/.335/.460

2012 WAR: 2.8
2013 Best Guess WAR: 2.0
Projected Difference: -0.8
2013 Floor: 0.0
2013 Ceiling: 4.0

I am not especially worried about Ryan Ludwick.

There, I said it. What, you are probably wondering, is the cause of my comfort? Especially when I was vocally opposed to the initial acquisition of the Ludster? When I predicted (last year, even!) that he was done? It’s simple, I found some very interesting numbers.

Ludwick, we all know, is a dead pull hitter. He makes his money crushing the ball to left field. We also know that, reportedly, playing in San Diego messed him all up. How much do we believe that? I didn’t, at first, but I do now. The key is to ignore his left field numbers.

When he was in San Diego, he crushed the ball to left. Crushed it. Just like you would expect. However, Ryan Ludwick does also do well when he hits the ball to center. He does terribly when hitting to the opposite field, but he still provides some value there. Both of those numbers dropped off considerably when he was in San Diego. Ludwick’s career average to right field is .223. Last year, with the Reds, it was .231. Totally normal variation. In 2011, when he was mostly with the Padres it was .139. That’s as far removed from his norm as his norm is from Tony Gwynn.

Then consider his batting average on balls in play:
Career: .304
Last year: .299
2010 in Petco: .235
2011 in Petco: .245

There are two possibilities: 1. Ryan Ludwick happened to be really unlucky in his primary home park for two years (bad luck that, incidentally, vanished the moment he was traded to the Pirates). 2. Petco really screwed up Ryan Ludwick.

Regardless of what you think the right answer is, we have to heavily discount Ludwick’s San Diego numbers. Do that, and is amazingly consistent. Save his career year in 2008, he can be relied on for 2-3 wins. And post numbers that look a lot like my projections.

That is why I am not worried about Ryan Ludwick. He isn’t a world beater, and I don’t fully believe in last year’s power numbers, but, if I’m being honest, it’s possible that GABP is Ludwick’s anti-Petco. If that’s the case, we could find ourselves surprised at how much value he generates, and he could make my projections look too conservative. A collapse is certainly possible, especially given his age, but odds are, he’ll be a solid contributor to the Reds in 2013.

Redleg Nation Season Preview Schedule

Joey Votto – 2/27
Brandon Phillips – 3/1
Todd Frazier – 3/4
Zack Cozart – 3/6
Ryan Ludwick – 3/8
Shin-Soo Choo – 3/11
Jay Bruce – 3/13
Ryan Hanigan & Catcher #2 – 3/15
Bench – 3/18
Johnny Cueto & Mat Latos – 3/20
Aroldis Chapman & Mike Leake – 3/22
Homer Bailey & Bronson Arroyo – 3/25
Bullpen – 3/27
Updates & Preview Wrap-Up – 3/29

54 thoughts on “Redleg Nation 2013 Preview: Ryan Ludwick

  1. All we need is Ludwick to provide a reasonable threat behind Votto. If he does that, then teams will have to pitch to Votto, and when teams pitch to him, he is a MVP.

  2. Jason, thanks for the article. It does calm my fears some about Ludwick. I have been a little critical of Ludwick batting 4th. I fell more comfortable with him batting 6th, but that doesn’t seem to be an option now. In the batting order from 1 through 8, with Ludwick batting 4th, that is the weak link in the chain. But after reading your article, IF Ludwick is the weak link, then the Reds lineup 1-8 is pretty damn good.

  3. Another good review by Jason.

    The most interesting thing about Ryan Ludwick’s numbers in 2012, in my opinion, was how he seemed to keep getting better as the season progressed. He didn’t get off to a hot start (quite the opposite) and ride it, his numbers kept seeming to go up.

    April 2012: .190 average, .266 OBP, 3 HR in 58 ABs
    May 2012: .224 average, .321 OBP, 2 HR in 49 ABs
    June 2012: .253 average, .326 OBP, 6 HR in 79 ABs
    July 2012: .333 average, .383 OBP, 7 HR, in 75 ABs
    August 2012: .327 average, .397 OBP, 7 HR, in 98 ABs
    September 2012: .302 average, .387 OBP, 1 HR in 53 ABs

    In the postseason he went 6 for 18 (.333 average) with 3 homeruns and a .455 OBP.

    Before the All Star Break: .239 average, .311 OBP
    After the All Star Break: .309 average, .379 OBP

    It seems clear that something just kinda clicked, maybe around June, and he kept getting better after that. I’m not particularly worried about regression – I don’t think he can keep up the .300 batting average or anything but I think he can realistically repeat his 2012 production by putting up a more consistent season. You know, like a ~.275 average all season and ~5 homeruns a month. As far as his age, from the way some people talk about him you’d think he’s 40 and walking with a cane.

    His new contract is interesting, with an incentive for them to retain him. He only earns $2m in 2013, $8.5m in 2014, with a $9m option or $4.5m buyout for 2015. A lot of people are assuming he’ll be gone in two years… but for 2015 they’ll have to decide between paying him $4.5m to go away vs an extra $4.5m to stay. Arguably he earns $2m in 2013 if he stays three years, or $6.5m in 2013 if they ditch him after two.

    I’m thrilled that Ludwick is back, and I like the way he handled the thing – making it clear that returning to the Cincinnati Reds was preferable to more money elsewhere. He did his best to reestablish that Cincinnati was the place to be, and the Reds are a team free agents should want to play for. I appreciate that he also brings some sort of lineup certainty by ending most of the debate over who should hit cleanup.

    I was attacked a lot (elsewhere) last year for suggesting that Ryan Ludwick might be a good acquisition. It was nice to be right. Great pickup by Walt Jocketty. It’s funny that Jocketty suddenly shifted from adding former Cardinals (Ludwick, Rolen, Cairo) to former Indians (Choo, Donald, Hannahan).

  4. I was one who didn’t believe in Ludwick. I even said last year, “If this lineup is counting on Ludwick for offensive production to make its year, we are in trouble.” Well, as far as last year goes, I will proudly eat my words.

    But, that was last year. With many players, with teams, it’s always harder to do it 2 years in a row (Votto said himself it was much harder to bat the year after he won the MVP). Not just Ludwick, we can include Frazier in on this, also. Keeping to Ludwick, or at least the 4 hole, where Ludwick will at least start the season, the key to our offense is going to be production from the 4 hole, in my opinion, right now Ludwick. If he (or whoever in the 4 hole) can provide any kind of threat to keep teams pitching to Votto, we will be fine offensively.

    The thing to consider, if I was a member of the coaching and/or scouting groups on other teams, I am hitting the films to see what are the ways to get Ludwick out. For, if you get can get him out, you also possibly make Votto ineffective by being able to pitch around him. So, Ludwick is still going to have to adjust. Can he? Sure. Will he? Will it work? That is something different.

    Given everything, I don’t see Votto being a threat aka Matt Halladay (sp?) was for Pujols. But, I don’t see Ludwick regressing to his 2010 or 2011 numbers, either. I see Ludwick being an average offensive hitter this season.

  5. It’s pretty amazing how after a player has one bad year, people want to jump on the “He’s done” bandwagon without even looking for possible reasons.

    This board did the same thing to Bronson Arroyo after his “mono” year. I was one of the few who felt that that year was an abberration and that Arroyo would return to his old self last year. Lo and behold, the old Arroyo bounced back and was again a very good starting pitcher for us.

    Likewise, I thought getting Ludwick was an absolute steal and the right move this team needed because I truly believed that Ludwick was just put in a bad situation. I thought that he still had the power and average lurking in his bat, he just needed to be put in a place where he could find it again.

    Actually, I wonder how many careers in baseball ended not because the player was “done”, but because they were not put in situations to utilize the talents they had.

    And personally, I think your projections are conservative. I would peg Ludwick at .280/.355/.550 with 30 HR, 95 RBI and about 3.4 WAR. I truly believe, now that he has rediscovered how to hit, he will be even better this year as he won’t have to spend the first two months flailing around trying to find his stroke.

    • It’s pretty amazing how after a player has one bad year, people want to jump on the “He’s done” bandwagon without even looking for possible reasons.

      This board did the same thing to Bronson Arroyo after his “mono” year. I was one of the few who felt that that year was an abberration and that Arroyo would return to his old self last year. Lo and behold, the old Arroyo bounced back and was again a very good starting pitcher for us.

      Likewise, I thought getting Ludwick was an absolute steal and the right move this team needed because I truly believed that Ludwick was just put in a bad situation. I thought that he still had the power and average lurking in his bat, he just needed to be put in a place where he could find it again.

      Actually, I wonder how many careers in baseball ended not because the player was “done”, but because they were not put in situations to utilize the talents they had.

      And personally, I think your projections are conservative. I would peg Ludwick at .280/.355/.550 with 30 HR, 95 RBI and about 3.4 WAR. I truly believe, now that he has rediscovered how to hit, he will be even better this year as he won’t have to spend the first two months flailing around trying to find his stroke.

      I think most of them are just sticking to what they wanted to believe, regardless of any evidence. Ryan Ludwick was washed up when they signed him and nothing he can do can change some peoples’ minds. Jonny Gomes faced almost the exact same thing. Similarly a lot of people have always been skeptical about Bronson Arroyo and the side effects of his mono supported their long-maintained low expectations, giving evidence (that he was bad) that they had sought for so long.

      As far as careers ending prematurely because people were not put into situations to use talents they had, I think Drew Stubbs would be in that situation if the Reds hadn’t traded him. For his sake I’m glad he’s getting another chance elsewhere. There’s nothing he could have done that would get people in Cincinnati to like him.

      I wonder how much credit hitting coach Brook Jacoby deserves for what happened to Ryan Ludwick. Conventional wisdom in Reds country seems to imply that Jacoby deserves none, and that Jacoby serves only as a scapegoat. Everyone seemed to dislike Brook Jacoby, even after the Reds finished second in the NL in runs scored in 2011 many people wanted him fired for the bad offense. He gets blame for failures (Stubbs) and no recognition for successes (Ludwick). Why? I’m not sure. But many people made a decision about him and are sticking to it.

      • @redsfanman:

        I wonder how much credit hitting coach Brook Jacoby deserves for what happened to Ryan Ludwick.

        This is a good point. I think there was a discussion along these lines (but replace “Jacoby” with “Dusty”) a number of months back, and folks came up with quite a few hitters who had comeback years after joining the Reds. (Ramon Hernandez comes to mind quickly…)

        • @redsfanman:

          This is a good point.I think there was a discussion along these lines (but replace “Jacoby” with “Dusty”) a number of months back, and folks came up with quite a few hitters who had comeback years after joining the Reds.(Ramon Hernandez comes to mind quickly…)

          Dusty and Jacoby are in the same boat, treated the same way. They’re both scapegoats when something goes wrong with a hitter and completely ignored when something goes right. Great American Ballpark – the the stadium – itself usually gets the credit. Somehow GABP even teaches guys to hit in away games.

          Bryan Price, on the other hand, is treated completely differently. If something goes right, like Dontrelle Willis or Alfredo Simon, it’s all because of the great and brilliant pitching coach. If something goes badly, like Ryan Madson or Bill Bray, eh, these things happen, no blame required. It’s kinda funny.

          I think Brook Jacoby has quietly done a good job with a bunch of the hitters, including Ludwick and I’m glad he’s back.

        • Bryan Price, on the other hand, is treated completely differently. If something goes right, like Dontrelle Willis or Alfredo Simon, it’s all because of the great and brilliant pitching coach. If something goes badly, like Ryan Madson or Bill Bray, eh, these things happen, no blame required. It’s kinda funny.

          Both those guys got injured. Blaming Price for those guys getting injured would be like blaming Jacoby for Votto’s knee (which nobody is doing), and it’s not an example of tutelage. See what TC said below… the pitching staff as a whole has shown growth and stability since Price has been around. You’re on fine ground if you want to say Jacoby may have influenced Ludwick. If Jacoby is just Dusty’s lacky for hitting philosophy, I’d be fine with exchanging them both. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the young guys: Cozart, Frazier, Mes who have only had this coaching and see what happens with them.

        • Dusty and Jacoby are in the same boat, treated the same way.They’re both scapegoats when something goes wrong with a hitter and completely ignored when something goes right.Great American Ballpark – the the stadium – itself usually gets the credit.Somehow GABP even teaches guys to hit in away games.

          Bryan Price, on the other hand, is treated completely differently.If something goes right, like Dontrelle Willis or Alfredo Simon, it’s all because of the great and brilliant pitching coach.If something goes badly, like Ryan Madson or Bill Bray, eh, these things happen, no blame required.It’s kinda funny.

          I think Brook Jacoby has quietly done a good job with a bunch of the hitters, including Ludwick and I’m glad he’s back.

          Let’s see. The entire staff carried the team last season. We even have 2 pitchers get Cy Young votes. Has our offense ever had a similar kind of season? When Jacoby develops all of his players into a “Big Red Machine” type of offense, I will be the first to give him credit. Until then, he’s struggling.

        • Well, when given the difference between Petco and GABP, and given that Ludwick said he needs time to get accustomed to new surroundings, many would have good reason to say Jacoby possibly/probably wasn’t the main part.

          It’s kinda funny how an inanimate object – or a place, GABP – causes such a turnaround, even when the player is at away games. You’d think Great American Ballpark is like Wonderboy, Roy Hobbs’ magic bat.

          Let’s see.The entire staff carried the team last season.We even have 2 pitchers get Cy Young votes.Has our offense ever had a similar kind of season?When Jacoby develops all of his players into a “Big Red Machine” type of offense, I will be the first to give him credit.Until then, he’s struggling.

          The Cincinnati Reds finished second in the NL for runs scored in 2011 (735) after leading the NL in runs scored in 2010 (with 790). Was Jacoby struggling in 2010 and 2011? I’m not sure what Brook Jacoby has to do to develop a ‘Big Red Machine’ type of offense – do they have lead the league every single year? That seems pretty unreasonable.

        • It’s kinda funny how an inanimate object – or a place, GABP – causes such a turnaround, even when the player is at away games.You’d think Great American Ballpark is like Wonderboy, Roy Hobbs’ magic bat.

          The Cincinnati Reds finished second in the NL for runs scored in 2011 (735) after leading the NL in runs scored in 2010 (with 790).Was Jacoby struggling in 2010 and 2011?I’m not sure what Brook Jacoby has to do to develop a ‘Big Red Machine’ type of offense – do they have lead the league every single year?That seems pretty unreasonable.

          Not too hard to understand. Easier to hit the ball out of a shoebox than the Grand Canyon.

        • Not too hard to understand.Easier to hit the ball out of a shoebox than the Grand Canyon.

          His problem with the Padres wasn’t just his power numbers and it wasn’t just a deep outfield wall. In 2010 he hit .200 at Petco Park, in 2011 he hit .218 there. He hit comparable numbers of homeruns in home and away games… rather than stockpiling homeruns when we went out of town. He seemed to have the same struggles everywhere he went, until he signed with the Reds.

        • @redsfanman:

          This is a good point.I think there was a discussion along these lines (but replace “Jacoby” with “Dusty”) a number of months back, and folks came up with quite a few hitters who had comeback years after joining the Reds.(Ramon Hernandez comes to mind quickly…)

          Well, when given the difference between Petco and GABP, and given that Ludwick said he needs time to get accustomed to new surroundings, many would have good reason to say Jacoby possibly/probably wasn’t the main part.

    • It’s pretty amazing how after a player has one bad year, people want to jump on the “He’s done” bandwagon without even looking for possible reasons.

      This board did the same thing to Bronson Arroyo after his “mono” year. I was one of the few who felt that that year was an abberration and that Arroyo would return to his old self last year. Lo and behold, the old Arroyo bounced back and was again a very good starting pitcher for us.

      Likewise, I thought getting Ludwick was an absolute steal and the right move this team needed because I truly believed that Ludwick was just put in a bad situation. I thought that he still had the power and average lurking in his bat, he just needed to be put in a place where he could find it again.

      Actually, I wonder how many careers in baseball ended not because the player was “done”, but because they were not put in situations to utilize the talents they had.

      And personally, I think your projections are conservative. I would peg Ludwick at .280/.355/.550 with 30 HR, 95 RBI and about 3.4 WAR. I truly believe, now that he has rediscovered how to hit, he will be even better this year as he won’t have to spend the first two months flailing around trying to find his stroke.

      A bit more than one bad year for Ludwick.

      Everyone didn’t do it with Bronson, either. I didn’t. All I ever said was just what I said with Ludwick and Frazier, “Let’s see 2 in a row.” One good/bad season can mean little. Putting together two in a row, that’s something different. Prove the good/bad year was just a fluke.

  6. Jason, you have a knack for explaining the complex and making it simple to follow. You are also very good at seeing the stuff pros see. Thanks for doing these.

  7. @BenL:

    Yes– I remember commenting on the article I saw where Ludwick specifically called out Jacoby as helping him gain his swing back:

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/print.jsp?ymd=20130216&content_id=41720230&c_id=cin

    “Jocketty and the Reds got everything they could have hoped for, and then some. Thanks to plenty of help from Reds hitting coach Brook Jacoby, Ludwick rediscovered both his swing and his confidence and produced a 26-homer, 28-double, .877-OPS season.

    “I think I just got back to hitting the ball the other way better,” Ludwick said. “I think it was all mental. You see that big right-center gap in Petco [Park], and that’s my best bolt. I just got so pull dominant. Me and Jacoby got together, and he looked at some film and said, `We’ve got to get you back grooving [the other] way.’ He said, `I don’t mind if you pull the ball, but we’ve got to have your approach to where you can hit the ball [the other] way.’ We did it.”

    • ot everything they could have hoped for, and then some. Thanks to plenty of help from Reds hitting coach Brook Jacoby, Ludwick rediscovered both his swing and his confidence and produced a 26-homer, 28-double, .877-OPS season.

      “I think I just got back to hitting the ball the other way better,” Ludwick said. “I think it was all mental. You see that big right-center gap in Petco [Park], and that’s my best bolt. I just got so pull dominant. Me and Jacoby got together, and he looked at some film and said, `We’ve got to get you back grooving [the other] way.’ He said, `I don’t mind if you pull the ball, but we’ve got to have your approach to where you can hit the ball [the other] way.’ We did it.”

      Just one thing, Ludwick never really got going hitting the ball the opposite way. Like Jason stated in the article, 231 BA hitting to the opposite field last season, only 8 points above his average. But, it is good to see Jacoby is trying to do some things.

  8. @CI3J: While it’s certainly possible that my projections are conservative (I really wouldn’t be surprised if he hit better than that), yours are very optimistic. Ludwick has only managed .280/.355/.550 once in his career. That happened during his age 29 season, and it stands out markedly from the rest of his career. He is now 34 . The odds of him approaching his peak value, when he is five years older are very, very low.

  9. @redsfanman: I’ve never been down on Jacoby, or even Dusty for how they teach hitting. I don’t feel qualified to do so. Dusty not knowing when to pull a pitcher? Yeah, I feel justified in expressing my feelings on that one.

  10. @redsfanman: Sorry, another thought. Your talking about the disparity between how people treat Jacoby and Price. I agree with you. But I think most people only know how to judge based on results. Are things improving or not. Under Price things have definitely improved and did almost immediately after he arrived. Fair or not he gets the credit. In many people’s minds they don’t see the offense improving. They see low on-base and high slugging streaky hitters who have long bouts of 1 for 21 strings. But again, I think you’re right. The Reds offense is two years removed from being #2 in the NL.

  11. I think a lot of people particularly blame Brook Jacoby for things like strikeout – as the hitting coach he better fix that or he’s not doing his job! On the other hand there’s only so much he can do.

    Personally I feel bad for the new Cleveland Indians’ hitting coach this year – Ty Van Burkleo – as he gets to instruct Drew Stubbs (career high of 205 strikeouts in 2011), Mark Reynolds (career high of 223 strikeouts in 2009), and Michael Bourn (155 strikeouts in 2012). If the Indians strike out a lot it’ll be Ty Van Burkleo’s fault.

    • I think a lot of people particularly blame Brook Jacoby for things like strikeout – as the hitting coach he better fix that or he’s not doing his job!On the other hand there’s only so much he can do.

      Personally I feel bad for the new Cleveland Indians’ hitting coach this year – Ty Van Burkleo – as he gets to instruct Drew Stubbs (career high of 205 strikeouts in 2011), Mark Reynolds (career high of 223 strikeouts in 2009), and Michael Bourn (155 strikeouts in 2012).If the Indians strike out a lot it’ll be Ty Van Burkleo’s fault.

      Well, considering we are striking out at club record rates with Jacoby as the hitting coach. . .

  12. @Jason Linden: Yes, .280/.355/.550 is wildly optimistic. Ludwick had a career season in 2008 and his career OPS, even if we completely discount SD/Pitt (which we can’t), is well below .905. I have Ludwick at .260/.320/.451. I could easily see him reaching your projected slash-line. I also feel his defense is under appreciated somewhat. Ludwick is a nice ball-player, especially when his salary for 2013 is considered.

    I am LOVING reading your projections. Just as I loved reading them last year. Great stuff Jason.

  13. I think a lot of people particularly blame Brook Jacoby for the lack of plate discipline so many of our hitters show.

    I think the idea that the organization would bring in a new hitting coach to teach an approach diametrically opposed to the one preferred by their newly-extended manager is more than a little wishful.

    • I think a lot of people particularly blame Brook Jacoby for the lack of plate discipline so many of our hitters show.

      I think the idea that the organization would bring in a new hitting coach to teach an approach diametrically opposed to the one preferred by their newly-extended manager is more than a little wishful.

      Now, that I will blame both Baker (a former hitting coach) and Jacoby on. Baker is the one who always says that you need to swing the bat.

  14. In case I wasn’t clear (and I don’t think I was), Brook Jacoby’s job as a coach is to implement his manager’s strategies, so I think blaming him in particular is kind of pointless.

    • @RC: I started writing it before you added:

      In case I wasn’t clear (and I don’t think I was), Brook Jacoby’s job as a coach is to implement his manager’s strategies, so I think blaming him in particular is kind of pointless.

  15. @RC: I’m not a baseball player but in my education I had a lot of problems with having two supposed experts in a field giving opposite and contradicting instructions which I was required to follow. A lady with a doctorate insisted she understood how to do a more experienced person’s job better because only she had the fancy degree and he didn’t – horrible internship. Opposite approaches and conflicting instructions, YIKES.

    The Reds added their new ‘assistant hitting coach’, Ronnie Ortegon. I wonder what he’ll bring to the team. Maybe he’ll provide just what you’re looking for.

  16. Its been a couple of days without games. Who do we have today?? The Cubbies?? I wonder how Travis Wood is doing this spring over in Cubbie-land??

  17. @redsfanman: RC wasn’t advocating for a hitting coach to have a different approach. He was saying Jacoby does what Dusty wants, so being mad at Jacoby is the same thing as being mad at Dusty. He means until the boss is gone, don’t expect things to change.

  18. Actually I think that’s an interesting question – what will Ronnie Ortegon bring to the team? Will he ‘teach an approach diametrically opposed’ to the one pushed by Dusty and Jacoby? Will he just work with certain guys? I can’t find very much written about Ortegon online… except that he’s (relatively) short. Anyone know anything about Ronnie Ortegon or have any meaningful quotes from/about him?

    • @redsfanman: Haha, calling others out for sticking to a point regardless of evidence.

      Yep, I give evidence in the form of numbers to support my points whenever I can.

  19. Yeah, that’s not what I’m looking for. It would be crazy to expect (or hope) that the Reds would hire a hitting coach (or assistant coach) to teach something contradictory to the what the manager is after. It would *at least* be seen as a hige vote of no confidence in the guy you just re-upped.

    I’m not sure how you got that out of what I wrote.

    Price is a different story… he has much more autonomy if for no other reason that Dusty was not a pitcher. He was a hitter, and a pretty darn good one at that.

    • “Hige” is the Irish version of “huge”.Or something like that.

      It sounded like big Big. And looked like Huge. How convenient. :)

  20. To change the topic (I know this is crazy) back to Ryan Ludwick…

    I think it’s great when players make a point to publicly advertise how much they like playing for the Cincinnati Reds, and how coming to Cincinnati can be preferable to making more money elsewhere… for various reasons. Whether they want to hit in GABP, continue a relationship with Walt Jocketty, play for Dusty Baker, work with Bryan Price, play for a contender, or just get a shot to play, it’s nice when players want to come to Cincinnati. I think Ryan Ludwick set a good example this offseason.

    • USA Today Sports MLB web page has a lengthy article on Aroldis Chapman.More Chapman stuff, nothing really new, but a good article. It was written by Jorge Ortiz.

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2013/03/08/aroldis-chapman-moves-to-starting-rotation/1971233/

      Fay wrote about this article/ interview in his blog. Unlike the media regularly covering the Reds, Ortiz, spoke directly with Chapman in Español sans a translator. For this or other reasons some things came out sounding a little different than they have in the regular Reds media.

      Basically, Chapman told Ortiz that he had come to enjoy pitching out of the bullpen but that he had been signed as a starting pitcher and now the organization wanted to take a look at him in that role. He concluded that they (the org) were probably the better judges of which role he should be in.

  21. I don’t think Ryan Ludwick just showed up at Great American Ballpark and found a magic bat waiting for him, I think he worked hard for months with the hitting coach to adjust his swing so that he could be successful, both there and elsewhere. I think GABP helped to stimulate his success but he definitely carried it over elsewhere, a fact that seems to be largely unknown.

    Interesting Ludwick splits for 2012:
    At GABP: .268 average, .341 OBP, .555 slugging… with 13 doubles, 16 homeruns in 220 ABs.
    Away Games: .282 average, .351 OBP, .505 slugging… with 15 doubles, 10 homeruns in 202 ABs.

    What does that show? He actually hit BETTER on the road, away from GABP, except as far as homeruns. GABP wasn’t solely responsible for his success, nor was a magic bat (Wonderboy)… and it seems logical to give Brook Jacoby, the hitting coach, some credit.

    • I don’t think Ryan Ludwick just showed up at Great American Ballpark and found a magic bat waiting for him, I think he worked hard for months with the hitting coach to adjust his swing so that he could be successful, both there and elsewhere.I think GABP helped to stimulate his success but he definitely carried it over elsewhere, a fact that seems to be largely unknown.

      Interesting Ludwick splits for 2012:
      At GABP:.268 average, .341 OBP, .555 slugging… with 13 doubles, 16 homeruns in 220 ABs.
      Away Games:.282 average, .351 OBP, .505 slugging… with 15 doubles, 10 homeruns in 202 ABs.

      What does that show?He actually hit BETTER on the road, away from GABP, except as far as homeruns.GABP wasn’t solely responsible for his success, nor was a magic bat (Wonderboy)… and it seems logical to give Brook Jacoby, the hitting coach, some credit.

      A little different playing 81 games in Petco, most of the others in canyon ballparks the NL West has, rather than 81 games in GABP and other smaller confines the rest of the NL has.

      So, you are saying he wasn’t working hard in Pittsburgh and San Diego? Who’s to say he wouldn’t fall back into that hole?

      • A little different playing 81 games in Petco, most of the others in canyon ballparks the NL West has, rather than 81 games in GABP and other smaller confines the rest of the NL has.

        So, you are saying he wasn’t working hard in Pittsburgh and San Diego?Who’s to say he wouldn’t fall back into that hole?

        I’m saying that calling Petco Park home caused him to change his approach to hitting in a way that was detrimental to his hitting both at home and on the road. I don’t know what he was doing in San Diego and Pittsburgh – maybe he was working hard – but he sure wasn’t hitting well. I think calling GABP home motivated him to change his approach to hitting in a way that clearly made him a better hitter everywhere – both at and away from GABP.

        Will he fall back into that hole? I think he would have fallen back into a hole if he left the Cincinnati Reds. I was worried, for his sake, that he’d go to Seattle for more money, where he would have struggled and been forced to retire. I think he bought himself a happier, more successful, and longer career by staying with the Reds.

  22. You never know how injuries are going to go, but Ryan Ludwick’s deal looks pretty good when you consider how much teams put up for Cody Ross and Nick Swisher.

    He probably shouldn’t be the clean up hitter. I saw this lineup on another site and I got to agree with it, as Dusty’s whole can’t put lefties back to back is insane. Good think Dusty didn’t manage the Bronx Bombers, he would have had to split up Gehrig and Ruth.

    Choo
    Cozart
    Bruce
    Votto
    Phillips
    Ludwick
    Frazier
    Hanigan
    Pitcher

    Forget the whole meme that Bruce can’t drive in runs, I saw this lineup and to me it clicks. I just really like the idea of Bruce in front of Votto getting a whole lot more fastballs to hit.

    Dusty is a crank, so the whole 2 lefties = don’t cross the streams would be very bad, so I know it won’t happen.

  23. @earl: I don’t think that Cozart is a good #2 hitter, that Bruce is consistent enough to be a good #3 hitter, or that Phillips is best used hitting 5th. Other than that, looks good!

    I don’t think the charge is that Bruce can’t drive in runs, it’s that he’ll go through week long streaks when he can’t hit anything, and that’s embarrassing for a #3 hitter to go through. He’s very capable of going hitless for a whole roadtrip. For the week when he’s a candidate for Player of the Week it’s a great idea, every other week it’s a horrible idea.

    Are Votto and Bruce like Gehrig and Ruth? No, I don’t think Bruce has held up his part of that. The Yankees’ ‘Murderers’ Row’ lineup had 3 lefties and a switch hitter while Votto and Bruce have often been the only lefties in a lineup. Now with Shin-Shoo Choo, Jack Hannahan, and Xavier Paul I think you’ll see more lefties hitting back-to-back, if that makes you happy. Fortunately all the lefties won’t face a lefty specialist who makes a career getting guys like them out… back to back to back to back.

  24. Way too early to talk about lineups, but any lineup with Zack Cozart batting 2nd is sub-optimal. He’s the least valuable hitter on the team, and should probably be hitting 8th.

  25. while I know he’s streaky… Bruce did collect a silver slugger last year. Doesn’t that say something about Jacoby too?

  26. I think Jacoby’s value is best shown by a guy like Ryan Hanigan who was a fringe hitter but needed to improve to stay with the club. Hanigan has improved parts of his hitting every year to where some wanted him leading off or hitting 2 last year.

    Todd Frazier is another example of a guy battling for a position. I am sure that he listens to everything Jacoby is saying, and he too improved last year over what many thought was possible.

    Votto is just amazing and takes everything into account. Brook can help him. Phillips and Bruce, who knows. Those guys are so talented, who knows what they pick up. If Bruce could hit the other way, he would see his average go up 30 points. I do not understand a player who hits 250-260 will not take advantage of a shift. Maybe this is the year.

    Ludwick, I agree with Redsfanman on his contract, performance and what he can do this season. I see no reason why he cannot be what he was last year. He is more open to help after what he has been through and is closer to Frazier and Hanigan than Phillips and Bruce.

    If Ryan Ludwick is an All Star this year, Brook Jacoby deserves all of the credit (outside of Walt).

    • I think Jacoby’s value is best shown by a guy like Ryan Hanigan who was a fringe hitter but needed to improve to stay with the club.Hanigan has improved parts of his hitting every year to where some wanted him leading off or hitting 2 last year.

      Todd Frazier is another example of a guy battling for a position.I am sure that he listens to everything Jacoby is saying, and he too improved last year over what many thought was possible.

      Votto is just amazing and takes everything into account.Brook can help him.Phillips and Bruce, who knows.Those guys are so talented, who knows what they pick up.If Bruce could hit the other way, he would see his average go up 30 points.I do not understand a player who hits 250-260 will not take advantage of a shift.Maybe this is the year.

      Ludwick, I agree with Redsfanman on his contract, performance and what he can do this season.I see no reason why he cannot be what he was last year.He is more open to help after what he has been through and is closer to Frazier and Hanigan than Phillips and Bruce.

      If Ryan Ludwick is an All Star this year, Brook Jacoby deserves all of the credit (outside of Walt).

      Not so sure about Jacoby helping Hanigan. If you look at Hanigan’s numbers, last year was right about at his major league career average. His numbers also show he was a better hitter in the minors.

      For me, the jury will still be out on Frazier. Like I remember some reporter saying, we still don’t know if we have a “Chris Sabo” on our hands with him. We will need to see if Frazier becomes prone to the “sophomore jinx” or not. I hope not. I hope he can do it.

      With Ludwick, you can’t discount the effect of GABP to Petco. GABP is a launching pad compared to Petco. HR’s just last season of the squads, Padres 121 (home 47, away 74), Reds 174 (home 103, over twice as much as the Padres, away 69, less than the Padres). Petco isn’t a park for HR hitters. I do agree with the contract discussion for Ludwick, though, after seeing what other free agents were getting this off season.

      • With Ludwick, you can’t discount the effect of GABP to Petco.GABP is a launching pad compared to Petco.HR’s just last season of the squads, Padres 121 (home 47, away 74), Reds 174 (home 103, over twice as much as the Padres, away 69, less than the Padres).Petco isn’t a park for HR hitters.I do agree with the contract discussion for Ludwick, though, after seeing what other free agents were getting this off season.

        I think you’re over-simplying it. When Ludwick was with the Padres he struggled – not just at Petco, the struggles followed him on the road resulting in a low batting average. He didn’t counter the effects of Petco Park being a tough place to hit when he went on the road. His struggles eventually followed him to Pittsburgh, and into his first month with the Reds. When he came to Cincinnati, and started calling GABP home, he put up much better numbers both at home AND on the road than he had in previous seasons.

        • Not too hard to understand. Petco got Ludwick into a bad rut he couldn’t get out of.

          I think you’re over-simplying it.When Ludwick was with the Padres he struggled – not just at Petco, the struggles followed him on the road resulting in a low batting average.He didn’t counter the effects of Petco Park being a tough place to hit when he went on the road.His struggles eventually followed him to Pittsburgh, and into his first month with the Reds.When he came to Cincinnati, and started calling GABP home, he put up much better numbers both at home AND on the road than he had in previous seasons.

        • I think you’re over-simplying it.When Ludwick was with the Padres he struggled – not just at Petco, the struggles followed him on the road resulting in a low batting average.He didn’t counter the effects of Petco Park being a tough place to hit when he went on the road.His struggles eventually followed him to Pittsburgh, and into his first month with the Reds.When he came to Cincinnati, and started calling GABP home, he put up much better numbers both at home AND on the road than he had in previous seasons.

          Let’s see, you mention only Jacoby in Ludwick’s turn-around season. I also include Petco into the discussion. And, I’m over-simplifying it? OK. . .

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