#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

There are 6 comments

  1. theperfectgame

    I was expecting Debbie to be a little harsher and lot more sarcastic given her subject material here. I mean, nothing about Pena’s career-best 5-game hitting streak in mid-July last year? Or that time he jacked 3 doubles in a single week? Or that time he high-fived Ike Davis really hard after one of Ike’s homers? Or his being actively recruited by the competitive eating circuit?

    Also, Pangloss is high off his ass on this one. “This is the best of all possible worlds”?? C’mon, brother, even the eternal optimist has to realize how ridiculous that sounds.

    1. ihob

      Come on man, he’s still young don’t write him off just yet. How many catchers are playing in the FSL at 19? He has the pedigree, and though small, visible improvement in his power and contact in a league that was mentally and possibly physically superior than he.

      Sure you can take shots at his weight, but the Mets have obviously shown that they still hold him in high regard with his invitation to the Big League Camp. Hopefully Pena will learn from the Veterans and younger guys that he needs to take better care of his body and fitness in order to really make it. The experience is vital for his development, dealing with MLB/AAA level pitchers, coaches, catchers and players. Keep in mind catchers take more time to develop their craft. Most important is their D and handling of a pitching staff then their offense comes.

      1. theperfectgame

        Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s a lost cause and I’m still pulling for him. I know catchers take longer to develop and Pena’s still just 20 years old and there’s no telling how much the Mets stunted him by jumping him right to Savannah at 17. I was just taking a few pot shots of the variety I would have expected from “Debbie Downer”. Also, I’m a big fan of Pangloss, but he had that coming. :-)

      2. ihob

        I guess the serious work environment had me lose sight of my sense of humor, all apologies.

        I mean he’s ooooonly 230 lbs on paper, haha.

  2. NateW

    The Mets have four catchers who could start in St. Lucie and Savannah next year and no one to catch in Binghamton (unless Omir Santos gets sent there)…
    Given the Mets track record, why would they not send Pena to AA? I realize they shouldn’t, but what should make anyone think that the Mets understand this?

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