Friday, June 11, 2010

The Peculiar Season of Carlos Pena

The Tampa Bay Rays currently own baseball's best record at 39-21, but it could be better. How? If Carlos Pena decided to hit. His .186 batting average has been deviling the team all season long, so much so that manager Joe Madden was forced to drop him in the order. Pena is in a contract year, and many thought he'd be playing himself into big money. 30+ homeruns and 100+ rbi (his current pace) will get you a nice chunk of change, but hovering around the Mendoza Line will not.

Low batting averages are nothing new to the 32 year old slugging first baseman. After reaching a career high in 2007 (.282) he's seen a steady drop thereafter- .247, .227, and now .186. Real baseball fans know getting hits isn't everything though, as extra base knocks and getting on base play a vital role in a player's value. Once again, Pena has a career best OPS in 2007 (1.038) and has declined since- .871, .893, .718. What does this mean for his payday when he hits the free agent market this upcoming offseason? Well, he was probably in line for a 3 year deal worth $30-40 million, but now he'll be lucky to get a 1 year deal worth $5 million. Homeruns and rbi are great, but teams want a guy that can get some singles mixed in there too...Dave Kingman types aren't a hot commodity.

The strangest thing about Pena's seasons is that he has more rbi than hits (41:38). If this continued he'd be one of the only players in the history of the game to have more rbi than hits with a minimum of 100 apiece.


Anonymous said...

Mark McGwire, 1999, 145 hits, 147 RBI.

GM-Carson said...

Damn, I don't know why Baseball-Reference didn't pick that up when I put in the criteria. Thanks for that though.

Anonymous said...

His Batting average on balls in play in that 3 year decline?

.298, .250, .198, for the career .283.

His strikeout rate is pretty much exactly the same and in line with his career rate, his walk rate is down 2% but in line with his career rate. His isolated power is down but his 'ability to hit' hasnt changed, just his luck on where he hits it.

GM-Carson said...

In the end, the teams signing these free agents don't give a damn about "luck". They see a horrible batting average and think- "oh snap, this dude is in a massive decline."