35-Year-Old Catcher – Free Agent
2017 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Heading into the 2016 season, the Cardinals picked up Pena to act as a backup to their franchise catcher, Yadier Molina. Unfortunately, their plan didn't pan out, as Pena battled a knee injury for alm...
Brayan Pena Contract Information:
Signed a minor-league contract with the Royals in February of 2017.
Pena was reassigned to minor-league camp on Tuesday, MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan reports.
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Brayan Pena: MLB Games Played By Position
Brayan Pena Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Brayan Pena Defensive Stats
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Brayan Pena: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
When Yadier Molina went down with a thumb injury last year, the Cardinals were left without a suitable replacement as they hadn't invested in a veteran backup catcher. They rectified that shortcoming this offseason by signing Pena, who put together two solid if unspectacular seasons with the Reds, the second in a capacity as the starter for most of the season after Devin Mesoraco got hurt. As always, Pena offers good on-base skills but precious little power. Pena might get more at-bats than expected for the third year in a row, as word came out in December that Molina needed a second procedure for his thumb and will at least miss some of spring training, if not the start of the season.
Nothing against Pena, but the fact that he got 372 plate appearances and played 53 games at first base in 2014 speaks volumes about the Reds' offensive struggles. Like many of his teammates, Pena was at his worst in the final month of the season, hitting .216/.293/.235 over 51 at-bats. As a backup catcher, Pena's contributions play just fine. As a starter, especially at first base, he's a drain on the offense, especially when the batting order doesn't have strong hitters elsewhere, as was the case in 2014.
The 31-year-old backstop filled a larger than expected role for the Tigers in 2013, as the teamís No. 1 catcher Alex Avila dealt with a lengthy slump and a pair of minor injuries. Pena offered solid production while filling in for Avila, finishing with a .297/.315/.397 line and four homers in 229 at-bats. While Pena doesnít strike out much, he continued his free-swinging ways and drew just six free passes all season. Penaís solid season with Detroit earned him a contract from the Reds, who will deploy him as the teamís No. 2 catcher in a soft platoon with Devin Mesoraco. The amount of playing time Pena sees with his new squad will likely hinge on the health and production of Mesoraco, who is considered the Redsí long-term option at the position.
An early-season injury to Salvador Perez opened up the door to extra playing time for Pena in 2012, but the 30-year-old didn't do enough to avoid being pushed to a seldom used reserve role in the second half of the season. Pena finished the season hitting .236/.262/.321 in 212 at-bats. The Tigers signed Pena this offseason to backup Alex Avila, which should only result in 30-40 starts maximum.
Pena saw an uptick in his playing time in 2011 due to Jason Kendall's season long absence, but was unable to capitalize on his opportunities. He hit for a lowly .248 batting average and was only able to get on base at a .288 clip. Pena will need to show real growth with his pitch recognition and start to hit for more power (.359 career slugging percentage), if he's going to help fantasy owners. As is, he's a decent fill-in for owners in deep leagues who use two catchers, but that is the extent of his value.
Pena took over regular catching duties late in the year after a Jason Kendall shoulder injury and responded with a solid .320 batting average and .362 OBP in 28 games. Kendall isn't slated to return until sometime after May, and Pena will be given the first crack at the starting spot with Lucas May also in the mix. As a temporary filler in deep two-catcher leagues, Pena could be a useful early-season plug-in.
Pena looks to enter 2010 as the No. 2 catcher for the Royals. He appeared in 64 games in 2009, hitting .273/.318/.442 with six homers and 18 RBI. Pena threw out 35 percent of attempted basestealers and if provided more playing time, Pena could develop into a solid major league backstop. With the Royals' decision to sign Jason Kendall to a two-year deal in December, Pena will likely have to compete for a backup job during spring training.
The Royals claimed Pena off waivers from the Braves in May and immediately sent him to Triple-A Omaha. He was known as a good-hitting catcher in the Braves' system, and did not disappoint at Omaha, hitting .303/.376/.462 with 17 doubles in 234 at-bats. However, he is blocked by two other good-hitting catchers (Miguel Olivo and John Buck), so he will probably start the season at Omaha.
Pena has shown to be a good hitting catcher in the minors, but his path is blocked to the majors with Brian McCann entrenched behind the plate. As a result, late last season Pena was used in the outfield and at third base at Triple-A. He could win the backup catcher job with Atlanta this spring, but he may also learn a new position in Triple-A. His fantasy value is best served at catcher, and he'll likely need to move to another organization to get a real shot at playing time in the majors.
Pena has a decent bat for a catcher, but he's in the wrong organization with Brian McCann entrenched in the majors and Jarrod Saltalamacchia waiting in the wings. He'll need a change of organizations for viable fantasy value.
Pena has a good bat for a catcher but his path to playing time in the majors is likely blocked in Atlanta with Brian McCann established as the starter and top prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia waiting in the wings. Pena hit .324/.383/.416 at Triple-A and got his first taste of the majors. He's likely mired in Triple-A for another season and a change of position or organizations may be in the works eventually.