St. Louis Cardinals: Memphis gets another Pena to sit behind the dish

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 13: Francisco Pena
KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 13: Francisco Pena /

The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Wednesday that they have added a new prospect catcher to their AAA team in Memphis.

The St. Louis Cardinals were well-known for their catchers. These have come in the form of Yadier Molina and Tony Pena. The organization announced today, Wednesday, 12/13 that they have signed Tony Pena’s son, Francisco Pena, to a minor league deal.

Francisco Pena, 28 years old, made his way into American MLB via the New York Mets system in 2007. From 2007 to 2013, Pena played the catcher position in the Mets’ minor league system and then was sent to the Kansas City Royals in 2014.

Young Pena made his MLB debut the year he joined the Royals- 2014- and appeared in one MLB game that season. He caught just one inning and recorded one assist in that catching appearance. He did not take a single at-bat in his one MLB appearance in 2014, thus maintained his rookie status.

Francisco bounced between AAA and the majors in 2015. He remained in the Royals organization and, thanks to his only appearing in eight games with the Royals during the 2015 campaign, again maintained his rookie status.

2016 brought with it the chance to exceed rookie status both in terms of his playing time and abilities. In 2016, Francisco found himself in the Baltimore Orioles organization where he played 54 games in AAA and 14 games in Baltimore proper.

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For his minor league career (889 games), Francisco owns a .241/.289/.382 slash line. Behind the plate, Francisco owns a minor league .988 fielding percentage. For his MLB career (a mere 28 games), he commands a .246/.271/.404 slash line. Behind the plate in MLB, Francisco owns a .991 fielding percentage.

How does he compare to his father? Tony played in MLB for 18 years and posted an offensive slash line of .260/.309/.364. Behind the plate in his 18 seasons, Tony carried a .991 fielding percentage. Pena was one of the best catchers in baseball history and perhaps his son might be as well.

With this addition, we may now finally know who will be the starting catcher in Memphis in 2017 and I am okay with this pick up. Will he come to the majors? He might if Yadier Molina suffers an injury. Otherwise, expect the young Pena to play exclusively in Memphis.

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