Sunday, February 12, 2012

The battle of left field

Heisey has his sights set on a big season
CBSSports.com has been a running a series called "Spring position battles" over the last few days. On Friday they posted one specifically on the National League Central. Here's an excerpt from that piece regarding the Reds:

Cincinnati Reds
Left field: Chris Heisey vs. Ryan Ludwick

The Reds signed Ludwick to a bargain deal, hoping he can find the stroke he left in St. Louis. The 33-year-old has always hit well at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, putting up a .276/.321/.600 stat line with nine homers in 30 games and 112 plate appearances in his new home park. Both Ludwick and Heisey are right-handed batters who fare better against right-handed pitchers. Ludwick is a career .272/.339/.464 hitter against righties and .237/.316/.435 against lefties. Heisey's split is more extreme -- .288/.346/.539 against right-handers and .180/.248/.300 against lefties. One thing that helps Ludwick's case may be Heisey's strength as a pinch-hitter. Last year the 27-year-old Heisey hit .324/.333/.529 with two homers as a pinch-hitter. There's another option here, as well. If Drew Stubbs struggles at the plate, Hesiey could be an option to play center alongside Ludwick in left. That's a remote possibility, though. The Reds are high on Stubbs' power/speed combination and he is an excellent defender in center.

And just for those curious minds out there, here are the projected stats of both Heisey and Ludwick from RotoChamp.com:

Heisey - .261 AVG/17 HR/ 43 RBIS (280 at-bats), .324 OBP, .486 SLG

Ludwick - .243 AVG/12 HR/ 50 RBIs (400 at-bats), .318 OBP, .388 SLG

Personally, I'm going to go out on a limb and say Heisey sees more at-bats this season than that projection. I'm also willing to bet Ludwick falls short of the 400-AB mark. No matter what the case ends up being, let's just hope the duo can provide the offense the team needs in left.

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