I linked to this article on Ramiro Pena yesterday, suggesting that we use caution when discussing a prospect who has seemingly come out of nowhere. Pena hit only .266/.330/.357 in Trenton and has never been higher than AA, yet Madden still felt that it was prudent to write the following:
Fact is, Pena has always demonstrated world class defense since being signed by the Yankees out of Mexico in 2005, but his improvement with the bat is what’s elevated him to legitimate major league prospect status.
“When I first saw him three years ago, you could knock the bat out of his hands,” said one veteran scout whose primary assignment is in the minor leagues. “But he was a magician with the glove and that made him someone to keep an eye on. Now that he’s gained a little weight, put on a little muscle, he’s no longer an ‘out.’ He can handle the bat. I always felt his glove would get him to the big leagues, but now I can see him as an everyday shortstop.”
This is Rob Neyer’s response:
I haven’t seen Ramiro Pena play. Until Sunday, I had never heard of Ramiro Pena. And now he’s the Yankees’ shortstop of the future!
This past winter, John Sickels wrote about 40 Yankees prospects in his book. Ramiro Pena wasn’t one of them.
This past winter, the guys at Baseball America wrote about 30 Yankees prospects in their book. Ramiro Pena wasn’t one of them. They mentioned a number of other young players, too, in their minor league depth chart for the Yankees. And here’s where Ramiro Pena shows up: behind Carmen Angelini (Yankees’ No. 28 prospect), Garrison Lassiter (not ranked) and Eduardo Nunez (not ranked).
Exactly. Pena may end up being a suitable utility infielder, and I guess it is possible to suggest that he might someday develop into a starter. However, most of the evidence that we have seen from him suggests that he cannot hit. Let’s not anoint him as the future just yet. We can leave that kind of “reasoned analysis” for Red Sox fanboys and the Bill Madden’s of the world.