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Wily Mo Pena: Deep League Waiver Wire

This week’s edition was supposed to look at a pair of NL outfielders, but then I realized too late that my second recommendation (Chris Denorfia) had already been profiled just a month ago. So instead, you get a super dosage of…

Wily Mo Pena, ARI OF | 5% Owned

Remember him?! He has not been mentioned in a FanGraphs article since February 2009! Still just 29, Pena was known for his great power, but also his inability to make contact. His 77 career homers in 1,590 at-bats works out to 29 bombs over a full slate of 600 at-bats. And though his career average of .253 isn’t great, it’s not a killer like other all-or-nothing sluggers Carlos Pena and Mark Reynolds. His career BABIP has been .325, supported by a line drive rate at or above 20% in each of his last four seasons in the Majors. His power could use a boost in FB% as that has been rather low for a slugger at just about 33% for his career.

Though he has had major trouble making contact in the past, there is potential good news: He has seen massive improvement in his contact rate at Triple-A this year, striking out just about 20% of the time (versus 33% in his Major League career). Throw in an improved walk rate and combine that with a ridiculous 21 home runs in 237 at-bats and a .363 ISO and you have the makings of a huge potential power source for the second half of the season. Of course, there is no guarantee as to what his playing time will be and he still has Gerardo Parra to fend off. However, this is exactly the type of player NL-Only leaguers need to take a flyer on and hope to catch lightning in a bottle.