Last winter, Ryan Ludwick looked finished as a productive major leaguer. Entering his age-33 season and coming off a 13-homer year split between the Padres and Pirates, Ludwick had to settle for a $2 million make-good contract with the Reds. Ludwick certainly made good, swatting 26 home runs and slugging .531 for the NL Central champs. Cincy recently rewarded him with a two-year, $15 million contract with a mutual option for the 2015 season. The righty-hitting, lefty throwing slugger, who overcame a fractured hip to become an All-Star with the Cardinals, revived his career for a second time by ripping inside pitches.
During his down 2011 season, Ludwick was a liability when pitchers busted him inside:
Ludwick's slugging percentage against inner-half pitches, 2011
He slugged a paltry .370 against inside pitches, which was nearly 70 points below the major league average and placed him in the same neighborhood as banjo hitters like Robert Andino and Placido Polanco.
Playing in a park that smiles upon right-handed power hitters in 2012, Ludwick crushed inside offerings:
Ludwick's slugging percentage against inner-half pitches, 2012
He slugged .647 against inner-half pitches, tying teammate Joey Votto for the ninth-highest clip among MLB hitters:
Highest slugging percentage vs. pitches thrown on the inner half, 2012