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Top Prospect Alert - Ryan Ludwick

By Robert Sherry

Ryan Ludwick: The younger brother of Eric Ludwick, this 22-year-old recently finished his first full pro season and now ranks near the top of the A's prospect list. Along with Fred Bynum, these two could be key members in the next wave of young Oakland hitting prospects that are currently working their way through the low-minors. .

Drafted by Oakland in the second round of the 1999 draft, Ludwick was a standout slugger while playing college baseball at UNLV. In my view, Ludwick would rank at the top of the list of power prospects in this system. In his first full season, he showed the power upside throughout as he continued to his some towering homers. In all,  Ludwick finished 2000 with a .264 average, 29 home runs, 102 runs batted in, 26 doubles, 3 triples, 86 runs scored, and 10 steals in 493 at-bats. If it wasn't for any early season slump, his average would have been much stronger. Like many power hitters, he did rack up the strikeouts, fanning a total of 128 times compared to 68 walks.

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Ludwick as the size to be a force in any line-up. Because of his power, some of his other aspects of his game get overlooked. He's more than capable of playing good defense (only 5 errors in 2000) and has a strong throwing arm. Plus he has some speed that you often don't see in players of his size.

With Terrance Long establishing himself as the A's centerfielder of both the present and future, Ludwick will probably have to move to either left or right, with right field being my pick because of his arm strength. With the trade rumors floating around Ben Grieve, the A's could have a spot open sooner than you would have originally expected. If a trade like this happens, once Ludwick cuts his strikeouts a bit, he should quickly find a spot in the Athletics outfield plans. Look for him to open at Double-A in 2001 and there could be an outside chance of him getting a late-season look depending on what moves are made until then.


 

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