Originally Posted by TRF
By age 28, Sammy Sosa had never topped 45 walks in a season. At age 28 he hit 36 HR's and had a .300 OBP. Next year he exploded into everyones livingroom. Was he juicing? Who knows, but steroids don't get you more walks. Now the fear of power will get you more walks. Pena has that power, and can generate that fear naturally.
That works two ways, though. Fear of a hitter's power forces pitchers to pitch more carefully, true. That should lead to more walks. But that presumes a certain level of plate discipline, doesn't it? What if the pitchers are already doing that, and the hitter's chasing and whiffing instead of walking? I argued in a thread a month or so ago that Pena's already being pitched in a manner that could lead to a healthy walk rate, but he's not taking them. Everyone knows he can hit the ball 500 feet, and they also know he'll chase junk. Pitchers aren't going to do anything differently until WMP makes them. But if he'll adjust and make pitchers understand they'll have to come over the plate to get him out, he'll have more chances to launch the ball to the moon.
Power can lead to walks, but in WMP's case, walks will lead to power.
The other thing that affected the situation is that Pena's already into his arbitration years. When or if he breaks out, his price tag will reflect it. Sadly, his days as a source of cheap power are about over. And if he's like Sosa and doesn't have his breakout until his late 20s, what good does that do the Reds if he's already eligible for free agency or about to be?