Originally Posted by TRF
woy, all of what you say may come to pass, but one thing i have gleaned from your posts over the years is that sometimes you have to look at the player.
WMP is unique in how he was signed coupled with a lack of development in the minors AND limited PT in the bigs. Add to that the "hit your way off the island" mentality that the D.R. produces, and you get a player with NO comps. At least no comps in life experience. Pena is uncharted territory for any club. To say he can't succeed or won't progress ignores what he has done without the PROPER baseball education.
He's a physical marvel, and every advancement in his game is due to his willingness to learn and likely accept that he has holes in his game. recognizing those holes is step one. correcting them is step two.
And Pena's immense physical skills are why I was one of the few (along with Puffy, Stormy, and a short list of others) who never supported the idea that waiving him was the right option.
Basically, what we're seeing now in the pro-Pena camp is an expectation that a guy with Pena's lack of seasoning and nigh-unprecidented physical tools equals a player with dramatic room to grow beyond a version (the 2004-2005) most folks never even thought he'd be. That comes after a "waive him", "maybe not", "better pick him up for the fantasy team", "we just got a 200 IP MLB SP for him and should be happy" progression from the other side of the fence.
Mind you, that's a reasonable at which to sell short on Pena, particularly if one was calling for Pena's dumping prior to 2004 because at that point the difference between "worthless" and "Bronson Arroyo" is actually huge. Not only do I understand that thought process, but I back it almost to a fault.
But not this time.
He's a bigger, stronger, younger just-as-raw version of Bo Jackson. Most players that comp the least bit with Pena do or did it because of bat speed (Juan Gonzalez, Sosa, Soriano). Pena does it on bat speed plus strength enough to change the trajectory of his swing during the offering and can just push the baseball out of the park.
The last player I've seen nearly as strong is Mark McGwire. The last player I've seen that naturally nearly as strong is no one. But McGwire's power was a product of plate discipline and a shortened stroke that allowed him to utilize his power to "push" the ball out. But that short stroke still didn't allow McGwire to adjust mid-swing. Pena can do that. It's ridiculous that he can do that and still hit with power. Pujols can do it but Pujols is similarly special in that his pitch recognition allows him to hold off on many pitches Pena offers at.
Here's something pretty interesting (to me at least):
Over the past two seasons, Pena's average Isolated Power is .253 IsoP. Here's a list of the players since 2000 who've put up an IsoP of .253 or higher in a season through age 24 (minimum 325 PA):
Albert Pujols (2 seasons)
Now, does that mean Pena will produce like any of those three overall? No. In fact, the examples I'm giving aren't at all meant to be true comps for Pena. But it does intrigue me that his IsoP is topped only by three guys in the past six years while I extended the search to include those who posted only 325 PA. The connecting point for all three above is that they had college experience that at least replicated a big portion of Pena's minor league experience while he was rushed.
Pena had discipline problems and hasn't yet figured out how to truly hit RHP. No doubt. But his minor league AB/BB rate was 1 BB for every 13.66 AB. Not so good. Yet his final real minor league season as a 20-year-old in AA (2002) saw his BB rate peak at 1 BB for every 10.78 AB. Pena's last two MLB seasons have seen him produce BB rates of 1 BB/15.27 AB (2004) and 1BB/15.55 AB (200). Those numbers include only one IBB combined. Can that ratio work? Well, Juan Gonzalez produced a hefty MLB career while acquiring a non-Intentional BB rate of 1 BB/16.71 AB after a minor league BB rate of 1 BB/14.23 AB. So yeah, it's possible but improbable for most.
But then, Pena isn't "most". Right now he's starting to figure stuff out. It's all on him. And if he does figure it out (as I suggest he will) this will be a trade to regret. That being said, I completely understand where other folks are coming from and if the player in question wasn't Wily Mo Pena, I'd agree with them.