Back in 2006, one of my favorite Wizards was Eddie Pena. He was a sidearmer who came out of the bullpen brimming with excitement and reminding me of J.J. Trujillo.
He appeared in 27 games for the Wizards after spending 2005 in the Can-Am League with the Worchester Tornadoes.
In 2006, he bounced around all levels – extended spring training to Fort Wayne, to Double-A and to Triple-A – and not necissarily in the order you would consider logical or normal.
With Fort Wayne, he compiled an aggregate 0-2 record that included a 3.99 earned run average and 38 strikeouts over 47.1 innings pitched.
“I was in Ft. Wayne for about a month and a half, as a long reliever,” said Pena. “I got a bunch of two or three-inning stints and totaled about 20 innings and worked to an earned run average of just above four. I lived in an apartment with two other guys during my stay. The Padres signed a couple of free agents so they sent me back to extended spring training. I was a little bummed about it (getting sent down) but I understand this is a business” [source: Georgetown University]
That’s a pretty rough way to go into the Midwest League. But in two games at Double-A Mobile that year, he gave up no runs over 3.2 innings while striking out 2 and surrendering 2 hits. At Triple-A Portland, he got blasted for five hits, four earned runs and five walks over 6.1 innings pitched to put together a 5.69 ERA.
By 2007, Pena was back in the Can-Am League, again with the Worchester Tornadoes. He went 5-3 with a 5.56 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 45.1 innings pitched. In 2008, Pena’s contract was sold to the Chicago White Sox, but he was released that April rather than being assigned to any of their farm teams. with Worchester he went 6-5 with a 3.42 ERA and 44 strikeouts over 79 innings pitched. He also picked up the first nine saves of his career; eeight coming in the second half.
Pena was simply phenomenal out of the Tornadoes bullpen in the Second Half of ’08, posting a 3-2 record, a stingy 1.97 ERA and 8 Saves after the midpoint of the season. The sidewheeling sinkerballer finished the year with a 3.42 ERA, good for 7th-best in the league and the only relief pitcher to crack the top-10. [Source: Worchester Tornadoes]
They’ve already exercised their option on him for 2009. Perhaps if he can continue to pitch the same as he did int he second half of 2008, another MLB team will come calling for his services and give him one more shot!