Don't Believe The Hype: Ryan Ludwick Is Back Edition

DENVER, CO: Ryan Ludwick #48 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a home run in the eighth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Reds defeated the Rockies 9-7. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Adam Lind was hurt almost immediately after he started to become popular again, an event that, unsurprisingly, made him unpopular once more. You already know how much I don't trust Lind to produce, so carry on with your cutting. Jair Jurrjens is also on the DL, and Paul Maholm usurped both his roster and rotation spot in the process. Bryan LaHair is struggling as a right fielder, but it might be too early to cut him just yet, only because of how good he was prior to the positional shift. That being said, his track record isn't huge, so it's understandable if you cut bait.

As for the adds...

Ryan Ludwick, OF (50 percent owned, +31 percent): Ludwick has been hitting well as of late, but really, he's been great for 55 games now. His OPS dipped to 599 on May 16, but since then, in his last 206 plate appearances, Ludwick is hitting .301/.361/.651. Getting out of the hitter's parks of both Busch and Petco has been very good for him, to the point of reviving what looked like a flagging career. Ludwick has 16 homers and 32 extra-base hits overall in this stretch, and the .300 batting average isn't BABIP-driven, as his batting average on balls in play is just .303. He's been avoiding striking out, is walking enough, and has just shown massive power, both at home and on the road. Snag him while you can, as his season numbers have more than creeped up to the point of adequate: Ludwick owns a 130 OPS+, a rate far more deserving of ownership than he's seen.

Josh Rutledge, SS (65 percent owned, +20 percent): There's not much more to say about Rutledge that we haven't already: he's replacing Troy Tulowitzki, has hit well in his absence, and gets the benefit of Colorado's altitude when he plays. Go snag him, even if he's a temporary fix, as his environment will make it worth it to you on its own.

Greg Holland, RP (36 percent owned, +25 percent): Hey, a late-season closer addition. With Jonathan Broxton dealt, it's been Holland getting the save opportunities for Kansas City. He walked too many hitters, but that's a mild complaint about a pitcher striking out well over 12 batters per nine innings, and in his 120 career innings, he's shown a little ability to avoid giving up hits, anyway. You can't take 120 innings as gospel when it comes to dispelling any notion of DIPS theory with a pitcher, not that that's what Holland has accomplished: no, he's allowed a .323 BABIP in his three partial seasons. The key to his low hit rates is missing as many bats as possible, racking up his outs that way. It's worked for him, and likely will continue to do so, at least enough to make him viable as a closer in your league.

Chris Johnson, 3B (54 percent owned, +22 percent): Those who have followed my work for a few years know I have no special love for Chris Johnson, but I do love taking advantage of park effects. Chris Johnson went from a solid hitter's park to one that helps turn mediocre bats like his into weapons 81 games per year, and because of this, he should now be on your radar. If your league has daily changes, it's even better, as you can play match-ups and toy with home/road splits, too.

Kris Medlen, RP (23 percent owned, +20 percent): We mentioned quite a ways back that Medlen was a potential starting pitcher for the Braves, and now he's back in that role. He's been something of a ground ball guy in 2012 in his relief work, picking up grounders over 50 percent of the time. The strategy is especially important for him as a starter, as Medlen does not miss a ton of bats. Control and grounders are how he'll beat you, and while that won't do anything for your strikeouts, if you're in need of an arm that can throw some frames that'll help more than hurt, Medlen is likely worth a look.

AL-only

Mike Carp, 1B/OF (9 percent owned, +3 percent): Carp has been starting to turn it around as of late, as he's posted a 945 OPS over his last two weeks. It was a rough go of things before that, as this recent stretch has pushed Carp right over the league average line -- not the first base average, mind you, but the easier-to-surpass general hitter one. In mixed formats, Carp's out of place, given he plays in Seattle and hasn't been reliable. But in AL-only formats, you could do a lot worse.

NL-only

Jason Marquis, SP (10 percent owned, +3 percent): Petco Park is a magical place, and Jason Marquis has reminded us of that in 2012. Let's also not ignore that he's reminding us of just how much easier it is for a pitcher without real strikeout stuff to succeed in the NL versus the AL, as Marquis is whiffing eight batters per nine innings pitched, a rate that would surpass his career-best by more than a full strikeout. You can't go wrong with Padres starters in fantasy, unless they're named Kip Wells, so have at it.

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