Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 12/18/12
On Monday the Houston Astros signed Carlos Pena to a one-year contract, and he'll likely serve as the club's primary designated hitter while also seeing time at first base this year. Pena struggled last year, hitting under .200, and striking out at his highest rate since 2005. A low batting average and strikeouts have always been part of the package that comes with owning Pena. Unfortunately, they didn't come with his usual thump. He hit only 19 home runs, his lowest total since 2006, a season in which he spent most of the year in the minors. It's possible last year is a sign that Pena has reached the end of the line of being fantasy relevant, but I don't believe so. Pena moves from Tropicana Field, which had a park factor for left-handed home runs of 85 (100 being neutral) over the last three years according to Stat Corner, to Minute Maid Park, which had a left-handed home run park factor of 106 over the same time frame. With that in mind, I expected the ballpark dimensions to be significantly more favorable for left-handed pull power (which is where Pena gets all of his power) at Minute Maid Park than at Tropicana Field, but as you can see at ESPN's Home Run Tracker ballpark overlay that isn't really the case. Regardless, the park factors don't lie, and Pena should find his new digs more homer friendly. Pena struggles with contact, as you can see in his plate discipline data, but last year looked more like a bad year than an alarming cliff season. One thing that does stand out, and looks flukey, is a spike in infield flyball rate. His infield flyball rate last year was 16.5 percent after sitting just below 10 percent in 2010 and 2011. The rate was a career worst. Baseball is a game of inches, and those inches were unkind to him last year. A regression to his normal infield flyball rate should earn him a few more hits, perhaps even a few more taters. He should return to the 25-plus home run territory this year, which makes him a cheap source of power for owners in large leagues that can stomach his poor average.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jaguars send message with latest unofficial depth chart?

Hackenberg gets Wikipedia treatment after brutal sack

Broncos would be crazy to start Lynch over Siemian

Carr explains placing hand on Khalil Mack during anthem

Kinsler unapologetic over umpire protest: 'I don't care'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ferry explains letting Duke unretire his jersey for Bagley

Jets ordered McCown not to talk to media after game

Fugget about it: Christian Hackenberg isn't ready for the big stage

Jeffrey Loria says ‘no sadness’ about selling Marlins

MLB umpires wearing white wristbands to protest ‘escalating attacks’

Report: Ric Flair awake, communicating after surgery

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

Best of Yardbarker: NFL goes in on Ezekiel Elliott, NFLPA

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

Box Score 8/18: Reds and Cubs claw through a 23-run game

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

Box Score 8/17: Interleague games bring the fireworks

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

The top 20 left-handed pitchers of all-time

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Charles Oakley slams the phone — and his opponents — down

The '27 up, 27 down' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker