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2009 Player Profile: Carlos Pena

PORT CHARLOTTE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 20:  Carlos Pena #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses during Photo Day on February 20, 2009 at the Charlotte County Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida. (Photo by: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Scott BirchfieldCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2009

After an incredible World Series run in 2008, there doesn't seem to be much to be disappointed about. Carlos Pena's 2008 season was one of them.

For the Rays to be successful in 2009, Pena needs to have a comeback season. Here are three things Pena can do to have a great 2009 season:

 

1. Be patient at the plate

In 2007, Pena had a fabulous season. He was downright dominating. In 2008, he took a major step back. In 2007, Pena had good plate discipline. He struck out quite a bit, but he was pretty patient at the plate.

In 2008, Pena had the tendency to swing at bad pitches. He still hit 30+ home runs, but he could've had more if he were more patient at the plate. I think he will be ready to dominate again in 2009.

 

2. Take advantage of scoring opportunities

With a lineup that includes Aki Iwamura, B.J. Upton, and Carl Crawford, Pena will have ample opportunities to drive in runs. He will have added protection in the lineup with the addition of Pat Burrell.

There should be no reason Pena can't have another 100+ RBI season. If he can take advantage of the opportunities in front of him, Pena should blossom in 2009. The Rays would be thrilled if that were the case.

 

3. Be a team leader

With a young team, there needs to be a leader to help guide the team. Cliff Floyd and Eric Hinske are on different teams, and Troy Percival is struggling to stay healthy.

Carl Crawford seemed to be the best candidate to be a team leader, but I'm not sure if he still is that guy. Pena is a steady guy. You know what you are going to get from him. Joe Maddon and Rays can definitely use a guy to spur his team to bigger and better things in 2009.

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