(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Wily Mo Pena's first professional baseball contract was with the Mets, 11 years ago, but a technicality voided the deal and Pena signed with the Yankees. The reason Pena, then 16 years old, signed with the Yanks was that the contract guaranteed he'd be in the majors within four years.
After being traded to the Reds, Pena was in the majors by the time he was 20 years old, but he spent most of his time on the bench as a part time player. It's that major league contract that many scouts blame for impeding Pena from reaching his true potential as a lethal power hitter.
MiLB has a great article today on Pena, including his time in Cincy and who influenced him while he tried to learn the game on the fly, as a youngster who was rushed through the system. At 27 years old it doesn't sound like Pena regrets anything that has happened, but there is an incredible amount of untapped potential that could be developed in the right situation.
Pena is learning first base in Buffalo, he has played the position in winter ball and a few times, two years ago for the Red Sox AAA affiliate, but never in the majors. With Carlos Delgado sure to leave after the season, a right handed power bat at first base would be a welcome addition. Tatis spent all of 2007 in AAA with Obie before becoming "Comeback player of the year" in 2008, the Mets may see Pena as a long term project..
Much like Sheffield, Pena is off to a slow offensive start (BA .185) but his power threat is still effecting the hitters around him in a positive way....
"He's a big threat when it comes to the offense," Herd manager Ken Oberkfell said. "It's helping get Fernando [Martinez] good pitches to hit because you don't want to pitch around Fernando to get to Wily Mo. And with Ramon [Martinez] hitting second, he's going to get good pitched to hit because of Fernando hitting behind him. It's kind of like that snowball effect." source MiLB