PDA

View Full Version : Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy



savafan
02-24-2006, 02:53 AM
http://www.daytondailynews.com/sports/content/sports/reds/daily/0224redsweb.html?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=29

By Hal McCoy

Dayton Daily News

SARASOTA, Fla. | Wily Mo Pena's hair is short, the long curls he wore last year shaved off so that he is nearly a skinhead, and there are scraggly whiskers on his chin.

He is 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, with upper arms that look as if they came off a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda, so whatever Pena wants to do most people smile and say, "Yes, sir, Mr. Pena, whatever you want."

His appearance isn't all Pena says will be different in 2006.

As he leaned against a batting cage during Cincinnati Reds workouts Thursday morning, somebody said, "What do you think, about 30 homers and 100 RBIs this year?"

A large smile spread across his face and he said, "No, no. Not 30 home runs. More home runs."

More home runs?

"More home runs."

Pena said he can't wait for fans to witness the new, improved Wily Mo Pena, the one that developed this winter in the Dominican Republic Winter League.

"You'll see," he said. "Much different, much better. My swing is better. If I take the same approach I had in the D.R., everybody is going to see. More home runs. I was taking a lot of pitches, not swinging at bad pitches, getting my pitches to hit. And I was hitting balls all over the field."

Then he stepped into the batter's box to face Aaron Harang and flipped a little flare into short right field.

"That's a home run," he said. "Inside the ball park."

Pena bounced around the three outfield spots last year like a red rubber ball and hit 19 home runs last year in 311 at-bats, some of which had to be tracked by GPS.

"I hit 11 home runs in about 100 at-bats in the D.R.," he said, "And four in the playoffs."

What makes the 24-year-old outfielder so confident is that it looks as if he is going to play more and it looks as if he has found a home in left field.

With the trade of first baseman Sean Casey and the switch of left fielder Adam Dunn to first base, the plan is to put Pena in left field. No longer is he arguing with Austin Kearns over right field or waiting for days Ken Griffey Jr. doesn't play so he can man center field.

It is general knowledge that Pena's defense is suspect and his glove has problems getting through airport metal detectors.

Manager Jerry Narron isn't worried about it and neither is Pena, who played right field in the Dominican. Narron's theory is that Pena was moved around so much that he couldn't get comfortable in a position. He says that will change this spring, that Pena will play left field, left field, left field and, for variety, left field. And there will be extra work.

"He is willing to work," said Narron. "Anybody who says he is not willing to work hasn't been around enough to say that. I'm sure the last couple of years when he didn't play and we switched him around so much, he got frustrated and said to himself, 'Why bother?' It's not because he is lazy."

Pena was, indeed, frustrated the last couple of years about his situation, so frustrated that at one point late last season he said if he couldn't play every day he would like to be traded.

"All I want is a chance, an opportunity, to show what I can do," he said. "I can't do that when I'm not playing."

The opportunity has arrived.

"I've had to be patient here, wait for my chance," he said. "This year is my opportunity. They are giving me the chance. This is the year I have to do it, show 'em.

"As for left field, I know they are going to help me a lot and I just have to listen to them and learn," he added.

During one turn in the batting cage Thursday, Pena took four straight pitches from Harang as Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench watched from behind.

"What is this, an eye test?" said Bench.

Pena walked out of the cage and said, "Last year I might have swung at all four of those pitches, which weren't good pitches. This year? Patience, my friend, patience."

Pena is well-versed in patience.

Cyclone792
02-24-2006, 03:00 AM
During one turn in the batting cage Thursday, Pena took four straight pitches from Harang as Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench watched from behind.

"What is this, an eye test?" said Bench.

Pena walked out of the cage and said, "Last year I might have swung at all four of those pitches, which weren't good pitches. This year? Patience, my friend, patience."

Pena is well-versed in patience.

Well at least Pena knows the massive flaw in his approach at the plate, a lack of plate discipline. Now here's to hoping he has the ability/talent and whatever else it takes to actually go out, become a much more patient hitter and avoid swinging at garbage pitches.

If Pena can learn some decent plate discipline, it can open up the door for him to be a exceptionally lethal bat.

dougdirt
02-24-2006, 03:58 AM
"Last year I might have swung at all four of those pitches, which weren't good pitches. This year? Patience, my friend, patience."


Does anyone else think of Pedro Cerrano when they read that?

buckeyenut
02-24-2006, 05:45 AM
Does anyone else think of Pedro Cerrano when they read that?
Nope, it makes me think of a young kid with immense potential who just MIGHT be starting to get it.

If he does really get it and has a better plate approach, if Kearns bounces back and has the year we all think he will, if Jr is healthy for 140 games, oh my goodness will this offense be good.

RedLegSuperStar
02-24-2006, 06:31 AM
I'm holding Pena to those comments. I know the boy can mash, and last year had the top 2 longest hit homers. All I want out of Wily Mo is better plate disability and a huge improvment with his glove in LF. It's hard to believe this kid is only 24! If the Reds are smart and pay up now and sign him to a LTC.. much like Cleveland does with there young talent; I think they could have a bonified All-Star.

membengal
02-24-2006, 07:16 AM
Does Hal know what a skinhead is?

And...I am pleased by Pena's ackowledgement of the the weakness in his game. That's a good start. I am one of the unabashed Pena supporters in here, and keep wondering just how high his ceiling is with even a little more plate discipline. Very curious to see how this plays out this year.

Thanks for posting this in here.

Bobcat J
02-24-2006, 07:19 AM
All I want out of Wily Mo is better plate disability and a huge improvment with his glove in LF.

I pray that Wily Mo has no plate disability. :)

klw
02-24-2006, 08:59 AM
Then he stepped into the batter's box to face Aaron Harang and flipped a little flare into short right field.

"That's a home run," he said. "Inside the ball park."





That's great. very funny.

TStuck
02-24-2006, 09:33 AM
Does Hal know what a skinhead is?



OMG....my thoughts exactly when I read that. And I wonder what WMP would think about being referred to in that manner?:eek:

Red Leader
02-24-2006, 09:33 AM
Forgive me for not gushing over the fact that Wily Mo Pena thinks that he was able to fully develop his plate discipline in 3 months of Dominican League Play. He may understand that he has to improve, but its going to have to be something that he learns long term. Not many players can have terrible plate discipline and then change, much less change over the course of one offseason.

Chip R
02-24-2006, 09:40 AM
Forgive me for not gushing over the fact that Wily Mo Pena thinks that he was able to fully develop his plate discipline in 3 months of Dominican League Play. He may understand that he has to improve, but its going to have to be something that he learns long term. Not many players can have terrible plate discipline and then change, much less change over the course of one offseason.

Yeah, that falls into the category of I'll believe it when I see it. Winter ball isn't exactly known for patient hitters. To them, being patient may mean taking the first pitch. It's also one thing to take pitches during BP but it's a whole other thing when the boys start throwing the curveballs.

minus5
02-24-2006, 09:42 AM
Does anyone else think of Pedro Cerrano when they read that?


That's funny because that is the exact image that popped in my head as soon as I read that. I really do hope that Pena is right though and doesn't have to resort to sacrificing chickens.:)

membengal
02-24-2006, 09:52 AM
To be clear re: "gushing", I think we are all in "show me" mode with regard to Wily Mo and plate discipline, but I think we can all also acknowledge that it is definitely a good start for Wily Mo to show awareness that is a weakness of his and a place to improve. Now, identifying it and fixing it are two different things, but, I think, it is of immeasureable help if he is aware of the problem. From that, hopefully, will flow improvement. And, as I believe M2 has stated many times, even a slight tick up in WIly Mo's OBP should result in a pretty damn fine year for the guy. And, again, I would love to see that.

Dunner44
02-24-2006, 10:07 AM
That's funny because that is the exact image that popped in my head as soon as I read that. I really do hope that Pena is right though and doesn't have to resort to sacrificing chickens.:)

I think we should be fine, as long as he doesn't suddenly go Buddhist on us.... or if he does, He'll have to introduce JoBu to Buddha, and everything will be fine. (We still need a funny Chinese guy, however, to tell Wily Mo he has "No Marbles"... Tuffy played in Japan right? Close enough)

RedsManRick
02-24-2006, 10:11 AM
Does anyone else think of Pedro Cerrano when they read that?

Ha! I was scrolling down to post the exact same thing! If I was a reporter and saw Pena worshiping statues in his locker, I'd stay away.

KoryMac5
02-24-2006, 11:20 AM
I don't think anyone is going to confuse Pena with Rod Carew. We are in fact talking about a guy who strikes out a ton. That being said Pena is still only 24 years old and has had alot of time to mature lets hope his progress is like that of Adam Dunn and not of Russell Branyan.

M2
02-24-2006, 12:44 PM
Pena's got the right idea -- be more selective, do more damage. Can't fault him for that. It won't all come together at once, but he's a guy who could really easily bash 40+ HR this year.

flyer85
02-24-2006, 01:05 PM
Pena's got the right idea -- be more selective, do more damage. Can't fault him for that. It won't all come together at once, but he's a guy who could really easily bash 40+ HR this year.actaully his HR potential is almost unlimited. He has unreal power and has a high HR rate right now. Currently he acheieves it little plate discipline while being a GB hitter. If he ever learns a modicum of plate discipline and combines it with becoming a flyball hitter. Let's just say the sky is the limit.

Barbarossa
02-24-2006, 01:19 PM
Man, wouldn't that be great? Wily Mo bashing 40+homers. There's not enough room on the Wily Mo bandwagon as it is. I'm so glad the Reds didn't trade Pena or Kearns. This is shaping up to be an exciting year. We may end up with the next "murder's row".:beerme:

TOBTTReds
02-24-2006, 01:34 PM
Man, wouldn't that be great? Wily Mo bashing 40+homers. There's not enough room on the Wily Mo bandwagon as it is. I'm so glad the Reds didn't trade Pena or Kearns. This is shaping up to be an exciting year. We may end up with the next "murder's row".:beerme:

Don't count your chickens....

westofyou
02-24-2006, 01:38 PM
I'd trade WMP's 30 HR's for a team ERA of 3.99

savafan
02-24-2006, 01:42 PM
I'm holding out hope that they keep Kearns and Pena, and Milton can post an ERA around 4.50 and Williams around 4.00. If that happens, this team can win a lot of games.

Chip R
02-24-2006, 01:43 PM
I'd trade WMP's 30 HR's for a team ERA of 3.99

And that's the problem. He has little value to anyone now but if he goes crazy this year, no one will want to trade him. We've been conditioned to believe that offense is more valueable than pitching.

westofyou
02-24-2006, 01:47 PM
but if he goes crazy this year, no one will want to trade him.

I will... my hope is he goes all Adolfo Phillips and we can flip him for something.

Red Leader
02-24-2006, 01:49 PM
I will... my hope is he goes all Adolfo Phillips and we can flip him for something.

but, you can't trade someone like Pena, who at a very young age has the potential to hit 50+ HR's. ;)

KronoRed
02-24-2006, 01:50 PM
Trade Pena to keep Dunn and get a pitcher in the deal

RedsManRick
02-24-2006, 01:52 PM
He's bragging about taking pitches. I'm as skeptical as the next guy, but you have to appreciate the attitude. He understands that being more selective will make him a better hitter and is working to incorporate that in to his game. The fewer bad pitches he's swinging at - fewer strikes he's just giving away, the more likely he will see a pitch that he can make solid contact with.

With his power, if he can turn 1/4 of those strikeouts in to balls put in play and we project his 2004 & 2005 rates across 550 AB, leaving walks constant...

2004 & 2005
647 AB, 166 H, 45 HR, 224 SO: 423 balls in play
- 65.4% of AB resulted in a ball put in play, 34.6% in a SO
- 39.2% of balls in play were hits
- 27.1% of hits are homers

2006 in 550 AB and 25% of SO become balls in play (74.0% of AB = BPIP)
550 AB = 407 balls in play = 160 hits = .291 avg & 43 homers

So if Wily Mo can put the ball in play in 25% of the at bats in which he previously struck out, and everything else remains the same, we're looking at a MAJOR offensive force. Perhaps my assumptions are completely unrealistic, but that gives you a good idea of his potential...

TRF
02-24-2006, 01:58 PM
I'd settle for 1/4 of his K's being turned into walks. Dude has to walk more. he walks more, then he's Adam Dunn. Dunn K's less but keeps his walks, he's Barry Bonds. Not that being Adam Dunn is bad.

I'd take a dose of both this year.

TeamBoone
02-24-2006, 01:59 PM
Friday, February 24, 2006
Peña a Red for now
Any future trade wouldn't be soon
BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

SARASOTA, Fla. - When Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said Scott Hatteberg could end up being more than a role player, it was easy to jump to this conclusion: Wily Mo Peña is on the block.

It makes a lot of sense - trade Peña, move Adam Dunn back to left field and start Hatteberg at first.

Hatteberg's power numbers were about what Sean Casey's were last year, so there'd be no great offensive drop-off. It improves the team defensively, because Dunn is better than Peña in left and Hatteberg's better than Dunn at first.

Reds manager Jerry Narron will tell anyone who asks that you win with pitching and defense.

So if you can get a pitcher - even a prospect - in the process for Peña, it would seem to make perfect sense.

But don't look for it to happen - not any time soon at least.

"We're always looking to improve the team," Krivsky said. "But I'm not looking to make any big trades (right now). Let's get settled into spring training."

But Krivsky wouldn't rule out the possibility of trading an outfielder - probably Peña or Austin Kearns.

"We'll listen to anything," Krivsky said. "I don't think we're in the position where we can close any doors."

For right now, however, Peña is the Reds' left fielder.

Peña is confident he can be a good everyday player.

"I'm working hard on everything," he said. "I'm going to focus and try to get better."

The Reds know what they're going to get from Peña offensively: big power numbers and lots of strikeouts.

He hit .254 with 19 home runs and 51 RBI in only 311 at-bats last season. His home run ratio (16.3) ranked just outside the top 10 in the National League. But he struck out once every 2.68 at-bats.

Defensively, Peña continues to be a major liability. The Reds hope playing him at one position every day helps.

"It should definitely help to be in one spot," Narron said. "Just seeing the ball off the bat the same way will help."

Peña was rushed to the majors after playing only 105 games above Single-A. Because he signed a major-league contract at 17, the Reds were forced to keep him in the majors or risk losing him via waivers because he ran out of options after four years in the minors.

The Reds got Peña for Michael Coleman and Drew Henson in a trade with the New York Yankees March 21, 2001.

Then-general manager Jim Bowden was so enamored with Peña that losing him was never an option. The Reds even tried him at third base during the spring of 2003.

Peña, who turned 24 Jan. 23, is entering his fourth full year in the big leagues. But he has only 830 at-bats.

Peña also needs to put in the time to improve defensively. Narron says that will happen.

"He's willing to work," Narron said. "Anyone who says he's not hasn't been around him enough to know. He gets frustrated at times. But he's not a lazy guy."

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060224/SPT04/602240354/1071

westofyou
02-24-2006, 02:02 PM
he walks more, then he's Adam Dunn.

Let's get him to an equal to Gary Thomasson 1977 and work from there.

wolfboy
02-24-2006, 02:02 PM
I will... my hope is he goes all Adolfo Phillips and we can flip him for something.

I would as well. At some point, fans need to decide whether they want successful individual performances or a successful team performance. They aren't mutually exclusive, but we've seen what all offense and no pitching brings to the table.

Highlifeman21
02-24-2006, 02:05 PM
Well at least Pena knows the massive flaw in his approach at the plate, a lack of plate discipline. Now here's to hoping he has the ability/talent and whatever else it takes to actually go out, become a much more patient hitter and avoid swinging at garbage pitches.

If Pena can learn some decent plate discipline, it can open up the door for him to be a exceptionally lethal bat.


I think even you could/would agree that this is a preemptive strike to enhance his trade value. While I'd love to see WMP trolling LF along side #3 and AK28 over in RF for the next 5 years, I don't see that trio playing a full 2006 campaign.

Prove something to me WMP and pull outta the WBC and work on your lack of LF skills and show us that you're worth keeping, instead of trying to put forth a marketing campaign to get you outta town.

The real question, where do you bat WMP? 5th? 6th? And can he put up his 30+ HR in that slot?

RedsManRick
02-24-2006, 02:05 PM
There's some pretty strong evidence -- it was either of BP or THT -- that when guys cut down on strikeouts, they typically don't turn them in walks per se'. They simply get more walks as a results of their standard walk rate applied across more at non-strikeout at bats. I agree it would be great if he could get the walk rate up, but his power is so great, that if there's anybody who should be making contact everytime instead of walking, it's him.

Highlifeman21
02-24-2006, 02:15 PM
I don't think anyone is going to confuse Pena with Rod Carew. We are in fact talking about a guy who strikes out a ton. That being said Pena is still only 24 years old and has had alot of time to mature lets hope his progress is like that of Adam Dunn and not of Russell Branyan.


I'd rather have the 2005 Branyan put up than the 2005 of WMP

Branyan:
85 G 202 AB 23 R 52 H 11 2B 0 3B 12 HR 31 RBI 99 TB 39 BB 80 K .378 OBP .490 SLG .257 AVG

WMP:
99 G 311 AB 42 R 79 H 17 2B 0 3B 19 HR 51 RBI 153 TB 20 BB 116 K .304 OBP .492 SLG .254 AVG

19 more BB in 109 less AB stands out right there for me, I dunno about you. Plus the fact, had we never given up on Branyan, he'd give us another option at 3B, 1B and LF. I'm not saying he'd start at any of those positions, but I know I'd much rather see him backing up there than ToWo, or McCracken, or Rhodes.

RedsManRick
02-24-2006, 02:19 PM
I swear, the only difference between Russ Branyan and Richie Sexson is playing time. I just don't understand why Branyan can't get a full time gig somwhere. Maybe I should check out his splits... there's gotta be a reason.

TRF
02-24-2006, 02:29 PM
I was in Arlington a few years ago for the Ranger/Reds series. A guy about 10 rows behind me in an Indians Jersey pounding about 100 bears was quiet as a mouse.

Except when Branyan came to the plate. this was in RF. he was heard all through the park. He ripped into him like a fat man after doritos. It was hysterical.

Branyan had a good day too. 2-4 with a double. espn gamelog is cool.

Cyclone792
02-24-2006, 02:29 PM
The real question, where do you bat WMP? 5th? 6th? And can he put up his 30+ HR in that slot?

Probably 6th. I go back and forth on my preference for Lopez or Kearns batting 2nd, but the problem with Kearns batting 2nd is it opens up the tendency to bat Pena 5th. There's pretty strong evidence showing that the 5th slot in the order leads off the 2nd inning more than any other lineup slot, which is why I'd prefer Kearns to hit there, forcing Lopez up to 2nd and dropping Pena down to 6th.

Doc. Scott
02-24-2006, 02:40 PM
Then he stepped into the batter's box to face Aaron Harang and flipped a little flare into short right field.

"That's a home run," he said. "Inside the ball park."

That's great. very funny.

Pena has the potential to be a real character, sort of a mix between Manny Ramirez and Tony Perez. We ought to do our part to help this perception happen. Good for business.

See ball, wait on ball, hit ball. Miss ball in outfield sometimes.

A new spin on a familiar refrain.

Maldonado
02-24-2006, 05:02 PM
"Forgive me for not gushing over the fact that Wily Mo Pena thinks that he was able to fully develop his plate discipline in 3 months of Dominican League Play. He may understand that he has to improve, but its going to have to be something that he learns long term. Not many players can have terrible plate discipline and then change, much less change over the course of one offseason."

I really don't want to, but I'm inclined to agree. I'm sure Reggie Jackson would've loved to have more plate discipline, but he was a leader in strikeouts his entire career. When you have 1/4 of a second to make a decision whether to swing or not, there is a lot of the process which just isn't under conscious control. However, I want to be cautiously optimistic.

westofyou
02-24-2006, 05:05 PM
I really don't want to, but I'm inclined to agree. I'm sure Reggie Jackson would've loved to have more plate discipline, but he was a leader in strikeouts his entire career.

Under age of 24 WMP averages a 1 BB every 16.6 PA's, at the same age Jackson averaged 1 BB every 7.8 PA.

That's what plate discipline is about, not just striking out.

Maldonado
02-24-2006, 05:33 PM
"Under age of 24 WMP averages a 1 BB every 16.6 PA's, at the same age Jackson averaged 1 BB every 7.8 PA."

While I agree with your point that Pena is not nearly as strike out prone as RJ, the point is that free swinging at the plate is a very difficult trait to unlearn.

klw
02-24-2006, 05:44 PM
Some Interesting tidbits per ROTOWORLD

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/player_previousnews.asp?sport=MLB&leaguenum=&id=3071

Feb. 23, 2006 - 6:03 pm et
The Nationals plan to send a scout to watch Wily Mo Pena this week, according to MLB.com.
GM Jim Bowden started discussing Pena with the Reds in November or December. The Nationals just don't have much to offer, unless they spin off Alfonso Soriano for pitching first. The Reds shouldn't be looking to trade Pena anyway.
Source: Nationals.mlb.com

Dec. 28, 2005 - 3:55 pm et
Wily Mo Pena went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a walk yesterday for the Aguilas Cibaenas of the DWL.
Pena finished the regular season in the Dominican at .363/.458/.650 with seven homers in 80 at-bats. Now guaranteed a full-time spot in the outfield, he's a good bet to reach 35-40 homers next season.

Dec. 17, 2005 - 2:26 pm et
Wily Mo Pena went 2-for-4 and hit his seventh homer of the DWL season yesterday.
Pena is batting .388 and has a 12/11 K/BB ratio in 67 at-bats. It's a lot better than he did in the Dominican Republic a year ago, so it certainly seems like a good sign.




While it is small sample size it seems that increased his walk ration and cut down on the K's at the same time. I don't have his '04 winter league stats with which to compare this, but I remember they were pretty bleak. It seemed that for the winter at least he walked the walk.

ghettochild
02-24-2006, 05:50 PM
Does anyone else think of Pedro Cerrano when they read that?
:beerme: yes

Aronchis
02-24-2006, 07:01 PM
WMP sounds like he wants to be a baseball version of Hulk Hogan. He needs to get a grip.

Little Alex
02-25-2006, 01:19 PM
:beerme: yes





well maybe if jaboo's bat wasn't afraid of curveballs, he'd hit more than 30.

Sorry, couldn't resist either. Major League is such a good movie. And I agree. The similarities between the two are amusing.

Matt700wlw
02-25-2006, 01:25 PM
breakout year for Pena?

What a sight that would be!

Steve4192
02-25-2006, 02:10 PM
During one turn in the batting cage Thursday, Pena took four straight pitches from Harang as Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench watched from behind.

"What is this, an eye test?" said Bench.

Gotta love having the 'old school' guy there ribbing Pena about not being 'aggressive' enough at the plate.