Why it pays to have family connections

>> Wednesday

Royals shortstop Tony Pena, son of the former All-Star catcher and manager of the same name, remains employed by (and frequently starts for) a major league team despite hitting .154 (.177 OBP, .189 SLG) with O HR and 8 RBI in 169 AB this year.

As drawn to my attention by Baseball Prospectus Premium Newsletter Stat of the Day, Pena's VORP is -18.7 (which for the non-SABR people, means your average minor league lifer would have created 18.7 more runs of offense to this point in the season, given those 169 ABs). His OPS+ is -2. That's right--negative two. (For a guy to have a negative OPS+, his OPS has to be less than half of the league-average mark.) What's worse is that he's also a below-average fielder this year, going by the dubious FRAA metric (-5, though he was +13 last year, which still wasn't enough to offset his -25 BRAA).

Pena is 27, and his best OBP in a full minor-league season was .301 in high-A ball. His top slugging was .366 in AA, where he slugged a whopping 11 HR. Unless the fielding metrics wildly underrate his true defensive ability, Pena clearly does not belong in the majors.

Professional athletics is supposed to be one of the few meritocracies that exists in the world, but Pena is a pretty good example of why it helps to have a name.


Zuch 12:48 AM  

Never did I think that Royals fans could be longing for the Angel Berroa era. Also, Neifi Perez can be comforted by the fact there's now a less deserving major leaguer.

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