If you forgot about Wily Mo Pena, you’re not alone. The slugger washed out of the majors after the 2008 season, and making a brief return in 2011. Since then, Pena has been spending his time in Japan, slugging home run over home run in the Japan Pacific League.
To date, Pena has 21 home runs, 52 RBI, and a .245/.357/.520 slash line this season, his first with the Orix Buffaloes. He was invited to the Japanese All-Star Game and absolutely demolished the first pitch from pitcher Shintaro Fujinami. Look at how far this thing went:
(Tip of the cap to Deadspin)
Wily Mo Pena highlights are scant, as he left the majors right before online baseball highlights became a regular part of life. The few that are available show that monster home runs were not exactly a rarity for him.
Over 1,845 career plate appearances in the major leagues, Pena belted 84 home runs, but that was about the extent of his offensive value. He had a meager .250 batting average and .303 on-base percentage along with 559 strikeouts. But, boy, was he fun to watch.
Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.
For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.
The Toronto Blue Jays, like a lot of teams, will wear an alternate jersey next year. It’ll be for Sunday home games. They call it their “Canadiana,” uniforms. Which, hey, let’s hear it for national pride.
(question to Canada: my grandmother and my three of my four maternal great-grandparents were Canadian. Does that give me any rights to emigrate? You know, just in case? No reason for asking that today. Just curious!).
Anyway, these are the uniforms:
More like RED Jays, am I right?
OK, I am not going to leave this country. I’m going to stay here and fight for what’s right: a Major League Baseball-wide ban on all red alternate jerseys for anyone except the Cincinnati Reds, who make theirs work somehow. All of the rest of them look terrible.
Oh, Canada indeed.