One under-the-radar prospect that New York Mets fans should start to become familiar with is catcher Francisco Pena. With a recent promotion to triple-A, Pena is getting rather close to being ready to come to the big leagues, and with Travis d’Arnaud slow to come back from injury and the Mets potentially trading John Buck before the trading deadline, it’s increasingly likely that Pena will make his MLB debut sometime this year.
Pena is the son of Tony Pena, a former major league player and the current bench coach of the New York Yankees. With great baseball genes and a body that was made to play behind the plate, the Mets have always had high hopes for Pena as a prospect.
Pena has been in the Mets farm system a long time, and his climb to the big leagues has been rather slow. He made his debut in the minors at the ripe age of 17, playing 103 games for a full-season team, which was an assignment he was far too young to handle. The organization, under former general manager Omar Minaya, attempted to rush Pena through the farm system, which forced him to play against competition much older than him that he wasn’t ready to face.
Pena’s development was further stunted by an injury that nearly cost him the entire 2010 season. Since then, he has slowly made his way up the ladder, but appeared to be nothing more than a placeholder. That is, until this season. After earning a promotion to triple-A a couple weeks ago, Pena has exploded with the bat, hitting .385 with four homeruns and 10 RBI’s in just eight games. This sudden explosion with the bat, to go along with solid defensive skills behind the plate, have once again made Pena a prospect to watch in the Mets organization.
If Pena can continue to perform at a high level offensively, albeit in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, he will start to garner serious consideration for a big league promotion before the year is over. Many have given up on Pena ever getting to the big leagues, but if things keep going the way they are, that just might happen.