Juan A. Pena
Juan Antonio Pena Jerez
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 200 lb.
Juan Pena has pitched as high as AAA.
Pena debuted in 1996 with the DSL Athletics, going 8-2 with a 3.21 ERA. He was two victories shy of the Dominican Summer League lead. In 1997, he had a 6-2, 2.91 record for the AZL Athletics with 67 strikeouts but 33 walks in 65 innings. He was second in the Arizona League in ERA behind Todd Noel and tied Wascar Serrano and Shane Heams for the most wins. He lost All-Star LHP honors to Miguel Frias.
In 1998, Juan pitched for the Southern Oregon Timberjacks (1-2, 2.15) and Modesto A's (3-2, 5.18, 50 H in 33 IP). The next year, he went 9-5 with a save and a 5.06 ERA for the Visalia Oaks despite a WHIP of 1.74. He tied for the team lead in wins. Pena was 6-9 with a 3.86 ERA for Modesto in 2000, whiffing 177 in 154 innings. He allowed 36 fewer hits than the prior campaign despite 22 2/3 more innings. He tied Jason Childers for the California League lead in strikeouts and paced all A's farmhands.
The Dominican right-hander was 11-9 with a 4.07 ERA for the 2001 Midland Rockhounds. He tied for sixth in the Texas League in wins, even with Jeff Heaverlo, Jeff Farnsworth and Justin Lehr. In '02, injuries plagued Juan, who had brief stints with the Sacramento River Cats (7 R in 10 1/3 IP), the Modesto (1-0, 2 R in 11 IP) and Visalia (0-5, 36 R in 23 IP).
Pena moved to the St. Louis Cardinals organization for 2003. He had a 6-5, 3.49 record for the Tennessee Smokies. Out of Organized Baseball, he struggled with the 2004 Nashua Pride (30 H, 12 BB, 16 R in 19 1/3 IP). In 2005, he was 3-0 with a 2.93 ERA for the El Paso Diablos. He vanished from the world's top summer leagues from 2006-2008. Pena was with the Mazatlan Deer in the 2009 Caribbean Series but walked four and allowed four runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Licey Tigers; Mazatlan rallied to win the game, though.
In 2009, the veteran southpaw resurfaced with the Vaqueros Laguna but bombed (1-2, 23 H, 13 BB, 15 R in 11 1/3 IP). He was much better in the Mexican League in 2010, with the Monclova Steelers (0-1, 5.40) and Olmecas de Tabasco (5-4, 3.43). He did well enough to make the Dominican national team roster for the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games. Not only that, he got the call in the Gold Medal game, facing Francisco Campos of the Mexican national team. He outdueled Campos, a longtime Mexican League star, holding Mexico scoreless for five. He wound up with the win as the Dominicans claimed their first Gold in an international event since the 1982 Central American and Caribbean Games.
Pena's work in the Central American and Caribbean Games impressed baseball people in Taiwan. The Sinon Bulls signed him late in the year and he went 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA in six starts. In game four of the 2010 Taiwan Series, he was summoned with his team down 3 games to 0. He gave up a 3-run homer to Ssu-Chi Chou in the first, another score in the second and got yanked in favor of Itsuki Shoda. Pena took the loss against Jim Magrane.