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Thread: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/sport...svc=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.
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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    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.
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan
    "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?

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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt
    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.

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    Greatness In The Making RedLegSuperStar's Avatar
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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    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.

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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    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.

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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    Quote Originally Posted by RedLegSuperStar
    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.

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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    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.

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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    Quote Originally Posted by membengal
    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?
    Better to be silent and thought a fool, than speak and be proven one.

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    Puffy's Daddy Red Leader's Avatar
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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    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.
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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Leader
    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.
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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt
    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.

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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    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.

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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    Quote Originally Posted by minus5
    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)
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Muscular Pena says 30 homers too wimpy

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt
    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.


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