The left field spot wasn't particularly great for the Cincinnati Reds in 2010. However, it wasn't a glaring weakness like the shortstop position was.
The team trotted out Jonny Gomes for 148 games that season, and the then-29-year-old posted a .266/.327/.431 slash line with 45 extra-base hits (18 home runs), 86 RBI and 77 runs scored. Gomes was a decent producer for the Reds but not an irreplaceable member of the team, as evidenced by his minus-0.4 fWAR in 2010.
Though he wasn't a great player by any means, Gomes, generally speaking, got the job done for the Reds. The now-12-year veteran did a masterful job of hitting with runners in scoring position and put up a gaudy .338/.408/.616 slash line in said situations.
The Reds find themselves in a similar position for the 2014 season, with a near-average offensive asset in left field.
After an outstanding showing with the club in 2012, Ludwick signed a generous two-year, $15 million contract for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Because of this contract, Ludwick became a target for immense levels of pessimism.
Ludwick spent most of the 2013 season on the disabled list, rehabbing from surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right shoulder. When he returned, he was everything but competent, posting a .240/.293/.326 slash line over 140 plate appearances.
This year, Ludwick appears to be healthy again, and the effects of that can be seen in his early-season stat line. Over 17 games played, Ludwick owns a .293/.354/.431 slash line with two home runs, two doubles, nine RBI, six runs scored and a 15-4 K-BB ratio.
Like Gomes, Ludwick is an average offensive threat, and, aside from Ludwick's 18-point lead in batting average, the two sport similar career stat lines. Ludwick's early-season slash line won't continue, and, in the long run, he'll likely settle in for a season very similar to the one Gomes posted in 2010.