Things aren’t exactly looking up so far this season for the Cincinnati Reds. They not only are starting the year with an interleague series against the powerful Los Angeles Angels, now they have lost big time player Ryan Ludwick. Ludwick does a lot of things good but his main job is to support the batting order behind Joey Votto. Without a strong hitter there, no one will pitch to Votto. This could be a huge stumbling block for the Reds if they don’t get passed it in a positive way.
There are options to replace Ludwick. Other potential outfielders for the job are Chris Heisey and Xavier Paul who could step up and get things done for the time Ludwick is out. Luckily it appears to be something than can be fixed fairly quickly so he might not miss the rest of the season. Still, the problem of who will support Votto in the line-up is a big one that isn’t answered by Heisey and Paul.
It has been suggested, and I agree that the likely first choice should be Brandon Phillips. Phillips has plenty of pop in his bat and has experience batting that deep in the order. The second position is important and Phillips does extremely well there but for this Reds line-up the spot behind Votto is much more important. Phillips could suffer some because of course he would no longer have Votto behind him, but that might be what they have to deal with until Ludwick is able to be healthy enough to return.