A Baseball Weblog

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A slightly different Ramiro Pena?

Ramiro Pena was recalled from Triple-A on Tuesday following Derek Jeter's calf injury, and got his first start of the season at third base on Wednesday.  He had a big day, collecting two hits and a no-doubt, 401-foot home run, his first homer since September of 2009.  You might have noticed that he looked different this year than in previous years - mostly, that's due to a new batting stance.  Click the links (2009, 2011) to see how Pena's stance has changed since his last major league home run.  You can see that previously, Pena had a much more open batting stance, and now both feet are pretty much equidistant from the plate; he might even be a little bit closed.  This is much more speculation, but Pena looks like he's gained some weight since last year, adding to the feeling of "who is that guy?" when he stepped up to the plate yesterday.

I don't know enough about batting stance and mechanics to qualify my comments on this, but one can't help but wonder if this new stance is paying previously unseen dividends for Pena.  In 215 plate appearances at Triple-A Scranton this year, Pena hit 4 home runs - by no means a big number, but interesting considering he'd never hit more than two in a full season.  His isolated power of .135 is also career high; he's never been above .100 for a professional season.  I don't think it's logical to make a big deal out of it yet, but combined with Pena's new swing, the power increase is certainly something to keep an eye on.

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