Friday, March 14, 2008

Wily Mo Pena Out 4 Weeks - Elijah Dukes To Start For The Nationals

Wily Mo Pena suffered a tear in his left oblique that force him to miss the next 4 weeks ending his hopes of being the Washington National's left fielder on opening day. An MRI showed the tear to be fairly significant and he could be out for more than the estimated month.

Fantasy Impact

Anytime a power hitter sustains an injury to his obliques it is a cause for concern. A majority of a batter's power is generated in the mid-section and a tear such as Pena's will not allow him to pick up or swing a bat for quite sometime. Given Pena's violent swing, I would expect it will be at least 6 weeks before we see him in the Nat's lineup again. Further, I wouldn't be surprised if this injury lingers and negatively effects his performance at the plate throughout the course of the season.

With Pena on the shelf, the starting left field job is Elijah Dukes' to lose. We all know Dukes' has had an especally troubled past and gotten off to an inauspicious start in the majors. However, the kid has a ton of talent as evidenced by his minor league numbers. Dukes has excellent power potential and good speed on the basepaths, making him a future 20-20 candidate. In addition, he has a chance to hit in a choice spot in the Nationals' lineup, possibly the two hole, if he produces at the plate.

The key for Dukes' will be staying on the field and out of trouble and so far this spring he has been a model citizen by all accounts. A pesky hamstring pull has Dukes sidelined day to day, but he should be back on the field by next week so it is nothing to worry about long-term. If Dukes can remain focused on baseball and free of distractions, he is an excellent fantasy sleeper candidate that you can grab late in the draft.

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