2009: Ramiro Pena found himself at the hot corner in the Bronx with an injury to A-Rod in the beginning of the 2009 season. Pena was more well known for being a solid defensive player and sported a career .254 average in his minor league career. A return by A-Rod took a starting job away from Pena, but Pena had made a good enough impression to earn plenty of time in the Bronx in 2009.
Pena found some success offensively at the Major League level delivering with a .287 batting average and driving in 10 runs in 129 at bats. Of course, one can hardly call Pena’s 2009 a strong offensive season, as he only held an OBP of .317 with a walk to strike out ratio of 1 to 4. Having never been known as a strong offense force, the Yankees utilized Pena much of the season splitting his time at Triple-A and the Major League level.
In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pena split time between third, short stop, and second base. His versatility shined through as the then 23 year old even spent seven games in center field. This versatility proved useful for the Yankees in the Bronx where he played from third base to second base.
Pena also was part of a group of youngsters who provided a jolt of energy as both a starter and a defensive replacement. His range provided the Yankees a valuable asset in the field and allowed manager Joe Girardi to mix and match key players, knowing he had defense available on the bench.
In the end, Pena got the job done for the Yankees whenever his name was called. Whether it was a key injury to Alex Rodriquez or simply providing a rest for Robinson Cano or Derek Jeter, Pena was just one of many young Yankees to get the job done in 2009. He’s got a ring to remind him of it too.
- 2009 Statistics: 2009 Regular Season Totals ( 69 GS 115 AB) 17 Runs 33 Hits 1 HR 10 RBI .287 AVG .317 OBP
2010: Pena will likely begin the season on the Yankees bench. He’s shown the ability to perform at the Major League level and remains one of the Yankees’ best bench options remaining from the 2009 season. Joe Girardi will have to play around with his line-up a bit for Pena to see a ton of at bats, but I imagine it’s likely we’ll see Pena more so as a late inning replacement or a once a week start to spare a rest for the Yankees infielders.
I’d like to see a repeat performance of last season offensively, but I’m cynical based on the career minor league numbers he brings to the table. I suppose it’s perfectly plausible that he could hit .275 and improve on his OBP, but I’m not holding my breath. Still, Pena is perfectly suitable for the role he played last year and see no reason why he can’t get the job done again, at least defensively.
In the end, I see Pena getting a decent amount of playing time as Girardi made it clear in 2009 he likes to give his starters a day-off on occasion.
- 2010 Prediction: (37 starts 165 AB) 25 Runs 43 Hits 2 HR 14 RBI .261 AVG .299 OBP