In this series, I look at one player per year from 1991-the present who came out of nowhere or had a great year that no one really noticed or expected.
The trade that brought Wily Mo Pena to Boston was not a particularly good one. The Red Sox sent Bronson Arroyo who was starting to make a name for himself after a decent 2005 to the Reds for Pena. The Red Sox needed some more offense and thought they had a surplus of starting pitching and Arroyo was signed to a reasonable contract.
However, Pena had a decent season in 2006. He definitely provided the power that the Red Sox hoped for, with 11 home runs in only 84 games. He also provided a decent batting average and on-base percentage, ending up with a slash line of .301/.349/.489.
He could always hit, but he had more than a few adventures on the fielding side of things. Pena was pressed into full-time duty when Coco Crisp went down with an injury. He was miscast as a center fielder during this period.
I saw Pena play in Kansas City that year and he absolutely crushed a home run that nearly left the stadium.
Unfortunately Pena would not play nearly as well in 2007 and he was eventually traded to the Nationals for Chris Carter.