We’ve given our “thumbs up” for Reds garnering Rookie of the Year (Todd Frazier) and Cy Young (Johnny Cueto), but there is someone that is being left out: Ryan Ludwick. Luddy is on track to receiving the NL Comeback Player of the Year, but he has stern competition.
Yes, there is still a lot of baseball yet to play…
Nary a Reds fan would doubt what Ludwick has meant to this Reds team. Heading into tonight’s game, Ludwick has crafted a slash of .272/.343/.580 with 25 home runs and 69 RBI. Those 25 homers are tied with Jay Bruce for the team lead and the 69 RBI is second only to Bruce’s 78. And we cannot forget what he has brought to the clubhouse either. Considering his 2011 season split between San Diego and Pittsburgh, he has put his name in this hat. To that, there is no question. In 2011, Ludwick posted numbers of .232/.341/.330 with 13 HR and 75 RBI. He has all but RBI to improve upon that campaign.
Normally, a season such as the one Ludwick is experiencing could be construed as a no-brainer for the honor. This year, not so much. There are others and this list is not all inclusive here. They are just a smapling of players that I feel could also be considered.
First, let’s see what constitutes a “Comeback Player of the Year”? According to MLB, it means one “who has re-emerged on the baseball field during the season”. With that in mind (and remembering Ludwick’s 2011 and 2012 seasons), here are some noteworthy guys. They are in no particular order.
1. Buster Posey: Hey, we can grouse all we want about the fact he got the starting nod as the NL starting catcher in the All-Star Game, but no one should be extremely upset if Posey were to receive the award. Posey’s name is even receiving mention for NL MVP. With a slash of .327/.402.539 with 19 HR and 77 RBI, it’s easy to see why Posey is getting such accolades. His 2011 was cut short after 45 games due to a home plate collision with Scott Cousins of the Marlins.
2. Adam LaRoche: The names you normally hear in regards to the Nats roster are those of Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. Nats fans will tell you that LaRoche has been instrumental in their 2012 success, too. He also had his 2011 abbreviated (43 games) and his numbers from last year were pretty grim. This year LaRoche has bounced back to produce a .262/.335/.488 slash to go along with 23 HR and 78 RBI.
3. Adam Wainwright: He missed all of last season after having Tommy John in the spring. While he hasn’t tasted the success of his pre-TJ days, Wainwright has bounced back this season, during this season (if that makes a lick of sense). Here’s what I mean. On May 17th, Wainwright was 2-5 and sported an ERA of 5.77. Since then, he’s 9-5 with a 3.09 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. For all of this season, he’s 11-10, ERA of 3.87 and WHIP of 1.05.
4. Jason Heyward: Might be a stretch, but Heyward is performing so much better than in 2011. After finishing second to Posey for 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, Heyward never found his groove last year (.227/319/.389, 14 HR, 42 RBI in 128 games) and also faced various nagging injuries. This year, we’ve witnessed the Heyward of 2010 with his slash .273/.349/.493 while smacking 21 homers and driving in 64 runs.
It would be a hard sell to say that none of these would deserve the honor. Yes, I’m partial to Ludwick, but that’s because I see him play practically every game in which he’s in the lineup.
I’m not backing off Ludwick either, brother.