Many weren't too thrilled when the Reds opted to fill their void in left field by signing Ryan Ludwick to a free agent deal last offseason. And it was difficult to blame them at the time. Ludwick was coming off back-to-back mediocre seasons and it appeared as though his skills were declining with his increase in age. The 2012 season proved to be a bounceback one for the Las Vegas native as he quickly won over the support of Reds fans with his hustle, passion, and good play on the field. By the time the year was over, the $2.5M invested in him for a one-year contract looked to be an absolute bargain.
Let us now reflect back on Ludwick's terrific '12 season:
+ Posted his second-best season in his career with respect to homers (26), average (.275), on-base percentage (.346), slugging (.531), OPS (.877), total bases (224), and doubles (28)
+ Recorded an offensive WAR of 2.1
+ Batted .333 (6-18) with three homers and four RBI in the NLDS
+ Finished second on the team in homers, OPS, and RBI
+ 16 of his 26 bombs came within the cozy corridors GABP
+ Produced a slash line of .313/.396/.611 during day games (39g)
+ Led the fad where folks around the club called each other "Brother!" in reference to former wrestler Hulk Hogan's tagline
+ Carried the offensive load after Joey Votto was sidelined due to a knee injury
+ Hit .309 with 14 HR and 46 RBI after the All-Star Game
+ Led of an inning 11 times by hammering a solo homer
+ Batted .367 with a whopping 1.135 OPS in what BaseballReference.com refers to as "high leverage" situations (i.e.-clutch)
Did you know? The Reds held a mutual option for him to return in 2013 at a cost of $5M, but Ludwick declined to enter free agency instead. Both sides are interested in having him return to Cincinnati though.
Here's a look back at the players we have already covered: