#9 Ryan Ludwick
Ryan Ludwick came up big in the eighth with his first home run of the season. (Source: stltoday.com)
This was another that I almost left off the list. However, one cannot ignore what Ludwick did in St. Louis. Ludwick had an injury riddled career and was on the path to become one of those prospects who could have become something great, but never made the big leagues. That was until the Cardinals offered Ludwick a minor league deal in the 2006 offseason.
Ludwick was called up on May 6th of 2007 and never was sent back down. He became a fixture in the Cardinals’ lineup for the next 3.5 seasons. He didn’t get the chance to play in all of the playoffs series that the previous guys did. But, he did put up good numbers in the OF for the Cardinals especially in 2008, when he put together a solid all star season, hitting .299/.375/.591, with 80 extra-base hits (40 doubles, 37 homers, 3 triples), posting a 151 OPS+.
That was Ludwick’s best year as a Cardinal, unfortunately he never posted those numbers again with this team, and was dealt in 2010, so that the Cardinals could acquire my least favorite pitcher ever (Jake Westbrook) and probably the most head scratching move John Mozeliak has made yet. Ludwick’s final numbers were really good, .280/.349/.507 and 196 extra-base hits (102 doubles, 84 homers, 6 triples).
Simply due to what Ludwick went through and the Cardinals’ cashing in on what really was a lottery ticket for them, Ludwick goes down as one the best free agent catches for this team.
Next: Carlos Beltran