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Ludwick, Gwynn: NL Outfielders

A pair of National League outfielders for your pleasure.

Ryan Ludwick (33% owned in Yahoo)
Ludwick is long-rumored for greener pastures, but it’s important not to overvalue the effect a move might have on his value. As a right-hander in PetCo, his home run power is only suppressed 5% according to StatCorner. If he moved to the Braves (-8% PF for HR by RHB), the Pirates (-17%), Rays (-7%), Red Sox (-7%) or Indians (-12%), he wouldn’t receive a boost in that category. The Giants (-1%) and Tigers (+11%) would be surprisingly positive destinations for him in this analysis. Overall, though, you’d think the Red Sox, the most recently rumored to be interested, would make for the best destination. Their park aids right-handed offense 6% overall while PetCo suppresses right-handed wOBA by 8%. A few more doubles would do Ludwick some good. At the plate right now, the current Padre outfielder is hitting more fly balls than he ever has, and showing the worst power. He could easily hit .260 with double-digit home runs in the second half, even if he joins a crowded contender. Other than BABIP (.270 this year, .304 career), most of his peripherals are in line with his career numbers. Sure, the 33-year-old is declining, and that’s a natural part of his three-year decline in HR/FB percentage, but there’s still enough punch there to be fantasy-relevant in deeper leagues. Especially with a tiny boost from change in parks.

Tony Gwynn, Jr. (2% owned in Yahoo)
Yeah, it’s a little strange to recommend a speed-only center fielder without a center field glove playing in a slightly pitcher-friendly park, especially right after his team traded for a veteran that plays his position. That said, Juan Rivera has been in town for a little bit of time by now and it looks like we can predict the playing time situation there. As a lefty, thin Gwynn is in line to play against righties. That works well given the fact that his OPS against righties is 6.4% better than his number against lefties. Lo and behold, the righty Rivera is 12% better against lefties by OPS. Play Gwynn against righties and you get a better walk rate (10.6% vs 6.4%) and ISO (.074 to .051). Both of those peripherals should help feed his batting average and keep it from slipping below neutral territory. Of course, you own him for speed, so it’s also good to see him play right-handers in that regard. He doesn’t have great upside, and you’ll have to manage him every day, but if you have room on your bench and a need for speed, Gwynn is still an option for you.