Wily Mo Pena can hit a baseball a long, long (long), long ways. This is nothing new. This ability got him a major league deal from the New York Yankees at the age of 17 and and has kept him hanging around the edges of a major league roster ever since. He's played for the Reds (after the Yankees gave up on him) and then the RedSox, Nationals, and now the Diamondbacks.
For the full back story on Wily Mo, this Jeff Passan (Yahoo! Sports) epic is a must read. It's also Passan who is leading the online charge to get Pena picked by Prince Fielder to be part of the 2011 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby.
Twitter / @JeffPassan: I may be biased because I ...
I may be biased because I just wrote 3,000 words on him, but Wily Mo Pena MUST be one of Prince Fielder's HR derby picks. #wilymo4derby
It's a nice idea. We know that Wily Mo would put on a show. But 39 at-bats, .205 average and five home runs is not qualification enough. There are only four slots on the NL team and Fielder has too many other good options before buying into the Wily Mo Hype.
Sure, it would be fun to watch Wily Mo hit some balls on to Jefferson Street but that can be arranged in a batting practice exhibition. The Home Run Derby honor goes to guys who've delivered consistently for their teams for more than just a few weeks.
Fielder seems to agree.
Twitter / @nickpiecoro: I asked him if he'd though ...
I asked him if he'd thought about having a Dbacks rep. Said Prince: "I thought about it. But I don’t know. I don’t think so, but maybe."
Wily Mo is a great story and a must-watch every time he comes to the plate. But even in a game when his team was down 6-1, Kirk Gibson choose to use him off the bench with no one on base in the fifth inning. Gibby said he couldn't afford to waste one of his other pinch-hitters who also has the ability to play in the field...anywhere in the field.
I would love to see what kind of damage Pena could do as a full-time DH in the American League and hopefully he will get that chance some day. And when he does, he might just earn himself a spot in the Home Run Derby.