Perhaps under the radar of the Reds this season has been the steadily improving play of Wily Mo Pena. Many Reds fans--me included--have wondered for years if he was going to pan out into a big league player, or if we should stop wasting a roster spot on him and let someone else reclaim him.
Through this, the Reds have stubbornly clung to the hope they could teach him to play---without ABs. That may be beginning to pay off.
Let's look at this comparison:
NL RF's (OBP) .349
WMP (OBP) .333
NL RF's SLG .462
WMP (SLG) .495
NL RF OPS .811
WMP OPS .828
Sure, he could get on base a little better, but as of this point in the season, he has elevated to above the statistical average for players at his position. Of course, with any young player, the challenge is to keep the trend pointing up, but for the first time in his career, I think he may be showing reason for hope.
Let us not forget, he only turned 22 in January.
He still has a wicked platoon split, but with the LH bats on this team, he can play a productive role even with that.
Thursday, June 17, 2004