The Cardinals have almost taken the lead in the NL Central, and if there was anyone I could say that's led them, it's Ryan Ludwick.
Now of course, Albert Pujols has played great even with an injured elbow, Skip Schumaker is batting .301, and Aaron Miles is batting .317. Having said this, Ryan Ludwick has done more than just rack up stats.
He's helped enormously in keeping the Cardinals in the race without two of their best pitchers. His defense is decent, but his hitting has been phenomenal in the last few months.
Ludwick leads the Cards in home runs and RBI's, and has the second best batting average (.348) behind Pujols (.349). He's hitting in the clutch, and even more importantly, it's putting pressure on the Cubs. Ludwick has hit a home run in five of the Cards last ten games adding 13 more RBI's.
I'd like to mention (again) that the Cardinals are missing Mark Mulder and the Cy Young Award winning Chris Carpenter, and they're still gonna make the playoffs.
P.S. Something tells me Ludwick will be making more than his measly 411,000 dollar salary next year, if the Cards are smart enough to re-sign him.