#19 – C Francisco Pena

Bats/Throws: R/R

Height/Weight: 6’2”, 230 lbs

Acquired: NDFA 7/8/06

Born: 10/12/89 (Santo Domingo, DR)

2009 Rank: #7

Why Ranked Here: Pena drops 12 spots down the rankings because he hit a whopping .224/.258/.329 in St. Lucie as a 19-year old.  Last year I had him in the top 10 on the basis of his youth, position and power.  He still has power, with the potential for above or slightly better power in the big leagues from a position that generally contributes little at the plate.  His eight home runs in 2009 are the same number that Josh Thole has hit in his last two US professional seasons spanning his time in St. Lucie, Binghamton, the AFL and the big leagues. However, the rest of Pena’s offensive game is still exceedingly raw.  Pena should repeat the FSL, where he’ll still on the young side for the league, and still younger than almost all of the ballplayers drafted out of college, none of whom have 308 games of professional experience.  For those of you who have done a single-league fantasy draft recently in a reasonably deep league, you understand how precious a catcher who can hit can be.  In this very demanding defensive position, Pena’s power could play.   

2009: Pena struck out in 18.8% of his plate appearances, his lowest rate in his three professional seasons, but also walked an anemic 3.6% of the time.  He simply must start seeing more pitches and working at bats better to be an All-Star.  The Mets have gradually increased Pena’s workload behind the plate in the last three years.  He’s seen action in 103, 105, and 100 games in the last three years, but caught 81, 92 and 100 games in those seasons.    Pena’s work behind the dish took a big step forward as well.  After throwing out 23% of runners in ’07 and ’08 he nailed a very solid 37% of prospective base stealers in 2009.

Dr. Pangloss Says: This is the best of all possible worlds, and I’m not giving up on the idea that with a better approach at the plate, Pena can be an All-Star.

Debbie Downer Says: He’ll never handle the demands of catching every day in the big leagues.

Projected 2010 Start: St. Lucie.  I just can’t see Pena catching everyday in AA.  He belongs in the FSL.

MLB Arrival: September 2013

SAL ’07 103 367 77 12 0 5 24 76 1 1 .210 .263 .283 6.0 19.0 4.3 .248
SAL ’08 105 397 105 22 3 6 25 95 0 0 .264 .308 .380 5.9 22.3 7.3 .331
FSL ’09 100 392 88 15 1 8 15 78 0 1 .224 .258 .329 3.6 18.8 5.8 .259