Will the Return to Tampa Continue to Energize Carlos Pena?

Apr 10, 2012

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Carlos Peña has started the 2012 season with a bang. Fantasy owners that plugged him into their early lineups couldn’t be more pleased. After three games and 12 at bats, he’s hitting a cool .500 with a killer 1.654 OPS.
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No, I’m not going go extrapolate his 108 home runs and 378 RBI (OK, I just did) if he continues on this pace. Obviously reality will set in for the .240 career hitter.
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That would be a welcome mark for a player that has hit .216 over the past three seasons. It seems like forever ago, but he did post a .282-99-46-121-1 line back in 2007. I don’t think he can touch those numbers, but a return to .247-76-31-102-1 that he produced in 2008 is a possibility.
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It could be a challenge because of his strikeout rate. Even with his hot start, he has already struck out five times. He only has made six outs this year, and all but one have come via “the whiff” to borrow from Dan Patrick. If he continues to struggle putting the ball in play, he takes the luck factor away. You can’t get funny bounces when the ball ends up in the catcher’s mitt.
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Peña will turn 34 next month. You basically know what you’re getting from him. He obviously still has some power. He will never be a great hitter, but he can be effective against right-handed pitching. If you are in a daily league, avoid starts against southpaws like the plague.
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If you pick your spots he shouldn’t be such a burden. Who knows, perhaps he can have a late career renaissance and produce a .250+ batting average. The odds aren’t in his favor, but 30+ HRs wouldn’t be a stretch.
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