Thursday, June 25, 2009

Brayan Pena vs. John Buck

I think it is a well known fact that John Buck has established himself as a career backup catcher. Which is a shame really. This is a guy who hit 18 home runs just 2 years ago. That was a great year for him. It was the year he introduced that high leg kick into his stance and drew a lot of power from it. We didnt see too much power outside of the homers though, Buck only posted an *OPS+ of 90 that year, 8 points above his career average. He really fell off after he got rid of the leg kick and I feel like he lost a lot of power and is still trying to get it back. Hey Bucky, why not bring it back???

*For newcomers: OPS+ is a stat that takes into account how a players On-Base + Slugging Percentage (OPS) compares to other batters in Major League Baseball. A good OPS+ is above 100. Ex: Tony Pena Jr.'s career OPS+ is 46, Albert Pujols is 172.

On to Brayan Pena. First off, I love this guy. He is all smiles and hey, he handles the bat well. He is a guy who has never really gotten a fair shot in the bigs. His career numbers in the minors aren't eye popping, but they aren't horrible either. His minor league career numbers:
.303 /.353 /.403 /.756
25 HR, 133 2B, 271 RBI over 9 seasons

Now, John Buck's career minor league numbers:
.271 /.339 /.431 ./770
64 HR, 142 2B, 351 RBI over 7 seasons

Now, John Buck has displayed more power over the years, but as far as being a pure hitter for contact, Brayan Pena is ahead of John Buck. Two guys with very similar numbers, one who has overstayed his welcome on the big league level, and one guy who has never gotten his shot. I think it is definitely time for the Royals to give Brayan Pena a fair chance.

As for Buck, he's an ok ballplayer. His problem does not lie in his offense, but rather his defense. Buck can't throw people out. He's got a plus arm, but his delivery is long. I haven't really gotten a chance to see B. Pena flash his arm, but it can't be worse than Buck's.

If we can get something in return for Buck, say a PTBNL, cash, or a low level pitcher, then I say pull the trigger. If not, then that leaves the Royals a tough choice. Give John Buck one last chance and risk sending Brayan Pena through waivers AGAIN this season? Or do we keep Brayan Pena in the backup role and send the longest tenured Royal packing?

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