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Francisco Peña

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Note: This page is for major league catcher Francisco Peña; for others with the same name, click here

Francisco Antonio Peña

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[edit] Biographical Information

Francisco Peña is a catcher. His father, Tony Peña, caught in the majors, while his brother, shortstop Tony Peña Jr., played in the majors as well. Francisco's uncle Ramon Peña was in the major leagues and his cousin Rudy Peña played in the minors.

Francisco played for the Bronx team in the 2001 Little League World Series (in which his teammate, star pitcher Danny Almonte, became notorious for having lied about his age). He was signed by the New York Mets in July 2006; the scouts were Ismael Cruz, a different Ramon Pena and Juan Mercado.

He made his pro debut with the 2007 Savannah Sand Gnats, the rare international signee to debut with a full-season minor league club. He hit .210/.263/.283 and had 18 errors and 14 passed balls. In 2008, he repeated with the same club and did far better (.264/.308/.380, 22 2B, .991 fielding percentage, 7 errors, albeit with 28 passed balls). The next year, he continued to make good defensive strides (.991, 9 PB) while hitting .224/.258/.329 for the St. Lucie Mets. He missed most of 2010, presumably due to injury, playing in 10 games apiece for the GCL Mets (10 for 32, 2B, 6 BB) and St. Lucie (10 for 37, 2 2B, 2 BB).

The Santiago native spent his fourth straight season in A ball with the 2011 St. Lucie club, batting .223/.275/.310 with a .989 fielding percentage and only six passed balls. In the 2012 Caribbean Series, Peña was 3 for 15 with a double and run for the title-winning Leones del Escogido, starting ahead of Wilkin Castillo and Danilo Sanchez. That summer, he played for St. Lucie (.254/.305/.423 in 41 G) and the Binghamton Mets (.198/.299/.325 in 40 G), finally advancing to AA.

In the 2013 Caribbean Series, Francisco split catching duties for Escogido with Alberto Rosario. He was 3 for 17, a far cry from Rosario's .412, but two of his hits were home runs. They also came in the clutch - a 2-run shot off Sergio Perez that gave the Leones the lead for good in their opener, and a 2-run 9th-inning game-winning blow off Marcos Tabata. He tied Miguel Tejada and Mario Lissón for the Series lead in home runs and was named the All-Star catcher. He then was a late addition to the Dominican national team (managed by his father) for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He saw almost no action as the backup to Carlos Santana in his team's run to the title. In his first game, he took over at catcher when Santana moved to 1B in the bottom of the 8th of a 4-2 win over Puerto Rico. He hit into a double play while facing Randy Fontanez in the 9th. In his other game, he again faced Fontanez; this time, he singled in Erick Aybar in the 8th of a 2-0 win against Puerto Rico.

He divided the season between the AAA Las Vegas 51s (.257/.297/.459 in 68 G) and Binghamton (.246/.321/.333 in 21 G), hitting a combined .254/.300/.429 with 21 doubles and 9 homers in 89 games. A free agent after the season, he signed with the Kansas City Royals on November 17th and was added to the team's 40-man roster. He began 2014 with the Omaha Storm Chasers, hitting .240/.309/.540 with 9 HR in 30 games. He was called up with Salvador Perez having soreness in his right hand; Johnny Giavotella was demoted to make roster space. In his MLB debut on May 20th, he was a 9th-inning substitute at catcher in a 7-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox; Mike Moustakas had batted for catcher Brett Hayes in the 8th.

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