National's GM Jim Bowden looked on with awe as his three young outfield sluggers put on a batting practice performance that left many wondering, "What if?" What if Wilt Mo Pena, Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge can put all their past issues behind them and flourish as everyday players? Can Lastings grow as a player and put the immaturity that plagued him with the Mets behind him? Can Elijah Dukes get over various legal problems? Can Wily Mo Pena flourish now hat he is an everyday player, with a home?
Dukes and Pena exchanged bombs all of the ballpark, while Milledge was hammering line drives all over the outfield. "I felt sorry for Lastings," teammate Dmitri Young said. "He was tagging the ball, too, but his balls were just scraping the wall. The other two were hitting cars."
It looks like Milledge and Pena will begin the season as everyday players in center and left respectively, with Austin Kearns in right. If Kearns continues to struggle, it wouldn't be uncharacteristic of GM Jim Bowden to deal Kearns for pitching and hand the rightfielder's job to Dukes. There are various reasons to draft any of the three. Pena probably has the greatest power potential, while Milledge will be a better power/ speed combo. Dukes would be a high power, low batting average pick, who must first get over his legal issues and then earn playing time.