|Born: July 13, 1978
Height: 6′ 3″
Drafted: 2nd Round, 60th Overall, 1999
How Acquired: Traded from San Diego Padres
College: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Agent: Beverly Hills Sports Council
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Along with Derrek Lee, Ludwick was part of the Pirates’ first experience at being deadline buyers in fourteen years. They obtained Ludwick from San Diego for a player to be named later. At the time they acquired him they were beset by slumps (Garrett Jones, Matt Diaz) and injuries (Alex Presley, Jose Tabata) on the part of their corner outfielders. Ludwick has had a lot of ups and downs in his career. He was regarded as a very good, although not great, prospect, but he was set back by a string of injuries when he was at the point when he should have been breaking into the majors. He failed in several tries at getting established with the Indians and ended up as a minor league free agent with St. Louis. After winning a spot with the Cards in 2007, he had a huge career year in 2008.
Ludwick generally hits for good power but only modest averages, with marginal plate discipline and only fair on-base skills. He’s had almost no platoon split during his career. UZR and +/- both consider him average to slightly above defensively, and he has a decent arm. He played mainly right in St. Louis and moved to left in San Diego.
Ludwick started off in high A after signing (Oakland had no low A affiliate in those days) and put up solid numbers in 43 games, although he struck out in over a quarter of his ABs.
Back in high A for a full season, Ludwick hit for good power and drove in 108 runs. He had a good walk total, but again fanned in over a quarter of his ABs.
In AA, Ludwick had pretty much the same season as 2000. His walk rate dropped a little and his K rate was identical. He finished the season with 17 games in AAA. Between the two levels he had 103 RBIs.
Traded to Texas, Ludwick spent half the season in AAA, getting 46 extra base hits in just 78 games. He again had a decent walk rate but fanned in a quarter of his ABs. He got called up in June and struggled until a fractured hip cut his season short.
Texas sent Ludwick back to AAA and he continued hitting well, with roughly the same BB and K rates as always. He became a starter for Cleveland following a July trade and hit for good power, with seven HRs in 39 games, but he missed most of September.
Ludwick was unable to get established with the Indians in 2004-05 due to wrist, shoulder and knee injuries that kept him out for the majority of both years. He played in only 34 games total in the majors in the two years. He hit well in AAA in 2004, posting an .852 OPS in 44 games.
The Indians designated Ludwick for assignment at the beginning of June and sent him to AAA, where he had just a .602 OPS in 54 games.
Ludwick signed a minor league deal with Detroit and hit well for the Tigers’ AAA affiliate, but did not get called up. His plate discipline slipped a lot, as fanned once every three ABs.
Moving on to the Cardinals, Ludwick got off to a strong start in AAA, and was added to the major league roster at the beginning of May. He didn’t hit well in a part-time role in May and June, but his playing time increased over the season’s second half and he improved steadily.
Ludwick had a huge season, driving in 113 runs, finishing 4th in the NL in OPS and 16th in the MVP balloting.
Ludwick was hampered by hamstring and calf injuries during 2009-10. He had only a fair season in 2009.
Bounced back during the first four months with the Cards, although he missed about a quarter of their games. He was sent to San Diego in a deadline deal that brought Jake Westbrook to Cards and collapsed after the trade, hitting very little with the Padres.
He continued to struggle with the Padres, probably staying in the lineup in part because the team had nobody else who could hit. His problems weren’t limited to the notorious pitchers’ environs at Petco, as he hit only a little better on the road than at home. After the trade, he did little with the Pirates outside of drawing some walks and striking out a lot. He hit just two HRs in 38 games. He walked more often than normal, but fanned in a third of his ABs. He missed about two weeks with back problems.
Ludwick will be a free agent in the fall. He qualifies as a type B free agent, which would net the Pirates a supplemental first round draft pick if they offer him arbitration and he signs a major league deal elsewhere. They are not believed to want him back, though, and he’s struggled so much over the last season and a third that he might have trouble finding a good deal elsewhere, which could lead him to accept arbitration. The Pirates could gamble on Ludwick not wanting to accept a backup role in Pittsburgh–the starting corner outfielders are expected to be Jose Tabata and Alex Presley–and hope that Ludwick in turn would be willing to gamble that he’ll be able to get an acceptable deal in what’s expected to be a weak market.
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 1999
MLB Debut: 6/5/2002
MiLB FA Eligible: Eligible
MLB FA Eligible: 2011
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 2001
Options Remaining: 0
MLB Service Time: 6.109
|June 2, 1999: Drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 2nd round, 60th overall; signed on July 17, 1999.
January 14, 2002: Traded by the Oakland Athletics with Jason Hart, Gerald Laird and Mario Ramos to the Texas Rangers for Carlos Pena and Mike Venafro.
July 18, 2003: Traded by the Texas Rangers to the Cleveland Indians for Ricardo Rodriguez and Shane Spencer.
June 3, 2005: Outrighted to minors by the Cleveland Indians.
October 15, 2005: Became a free agent.
December 14, 2005: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Detroit Tigers.
October 15, 2006: Became a free agent.
December 1, 2006: Signed as a minor league free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals.
May 6, 2007: Contract purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals.
July 31, 2010: Traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the San Diego Padres as part of a three-team trade that also included the Cleveland Indians.
July 31, 2011: Traded by the San Diego Padres to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later or cash.
October 30, 2011: Filed for free agency.