Richard Alexander Paz Pena
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 180 lb.
Richard Paz played 15 seasons in the minor leagues and one in Italy. He peaked at AAA. His career OBP was around .400.
Paz broke in with the 1994 DSL Giants/Orioles, hitting only .222. In '95, he batted .287 for the DSL Orioles/White Sox. He split 1996 between the Bluefield Orioles (.294/.434/.353, 42 BB, 42 R in 50 IP) and the High Desert Mavericks (3 for 17, 2B, BB). The shortstop tied for second in the Appalachian League in walks. In '97, he turned 20 years old and batted .242/.314/.314 with 15 steals in 20 tries for the Delmarva Shorebirds.
Paz split 1998 between the Shorebirds (.320/.453/.422 in 98 G) and Frederick Keys (.245/.357/.378 in 40 G) while moving to third base. He scored 86 runs overall, drew 96 walks and stole 28 bases in 38 attempts. He was in the top 10 in the affiliated minors in free passes, two behind Orioles chain leader Calvin Pickering.
In 1999, the Venezuelan continued to show a great batting eye with Frederick (.252/.415/.307 in 54 G) and Bowie (.286/.407/.366 in 79 G). For the year, he drew 98 walks. He had the most walks of any Baltimore farmhand; as the #6 player in the affiliated minors had 102, it is likely he again cracked the minors' top 10 in walks. He also stole 26 bases while being thrown out just nine times.
2000 marked more of the same as Paz returned to the same two levels (and saw less time at AA, more at A0 despite his great OBPs. He hit .306/.448/.399 in 79 games for Frederick and .285/.407/.416 in 40 for Bowie, totaling another 98 walks. Paz led the Orioles farm system in walks for a second straight year.
Richard signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2001 and batted .238/.374/.355 in an off-year as a utility man for the Altoona Curve. He pitched and won a game that year. In 2002, Paz was with the Kansas City Royals' Wichita Wranglers, where his batting line was .284/.390/.372 with 81 walks and 83 runs. He led Royals minor leaguers in walks and paced the Texas League with 11 sacrifice flies.
Paz's minor league wandering continued with the Milwaukee Brewers, his 4th organization, in 2003. He drew 74 walks between the Huntsville Stars (.246/.406/.320) and Indianapolis Indians (.351/.422/.412), making it to AAA at age 25/26 and in his 10th professional season. Despite leading the Milwaukee minor leaguers in walks and OBP (.422), he would never advance to the big leagues.
The veteran hit .273 for the 2003-2004 Magallanes Navigators in the Venezuelan Winter League. With the Chicago White Sox organization in 2004, he played for the Birmingham Barons (.233/.357/.279 in 66 G) and Charlotte Knights (.263/.381/.347 in 29 G).
For 2005, Paz played in Italy's Serie A1 with BBC Grosseto, hitting .214/.400/.250 with 16 walks in 17 games. In the US once again, he hit .305/.410/.430 for the 2006 Alexandria Aces to help them win the United Baseball League pennant.
Paz was even better for the 2007 Aces, batting .323/.459/.514 with 28 doubles, 79 walks and 82 runs in 93 games. He was 8th in the United League in average, led in OBP (by .026), was second in walks and led in runs. He played for the Tigres de Aragua in the 2008 Caribbean Series, going just 2 for 12 with a triple. He also made a defensive error at first base that helped set up the first run in a 2-1 loss to the Tigres del Licey.
Paz returned to Organized Baseball after missing three years when he signed with the Houston Astros, his 6th MLB team and 8th club total. He once again did well in AA at .287/.421/.398 in 67 games for the Corpus Christi Hooks, but batted only .217/.333/.304 in 18 games for the AAA Round Rock Express.
Overall, Paz hit .279/.402/.376 with 850 walks in 1,259 games in the minors (not counting his 1994-1995 DSL stats or 2009 San Angelo stats).