05 August, 2006

MLB Debut - Tony Pena, Junior

Tony Pena (2): or, son of 94 year old former MLB catcher Tony Pena Sr.

Just to confuse matters, Tony Junior is one of two Pena's to appear for the 2006 Atlanta Braves. Catcher Brayan Pena, a 26 year old Cuban defector, has ridden the same R-Braves shuttle as Junior. Brayan is currently back at AAA despite doing fairly well at the plate - .321/.345/.464.

Anyway, Junior is a slick fielding shortstop who has poor plate discipline and, so John Sickels says, makes too many mental errors. He's a toolsy infielder - great athletic ability and speed, but poor baseball skills.

Pena slipped off Baseball America's top 30 Braves' prospects this year and ranked fourth amongst the organisation's shortstops behind guys called Elvis, Yunel and Luis. In 2005, he had a full season at AAA and put up some lousy numbers - .249/.285 /.347 in 490 at bats. He walked just 21 times with 113 strikeouts.

Nevertheless, he got a chance early on in the season replacing Chipper Jones on 12 April when the All-Star went on the DL. Junior was optioned back to the R-Braves on 30 April as Atlanta recalled LHP Macay McBride from the DL. Pena was recalled 29 July when Jones went down again.

Pena's debut came as a pinch runner for Wilson Betemit on 13 April in Atlanta's 7-6 loss to the Phillies. He was stranded at second as the Braves rally stalled. Pena got his first AB on 15 April as he replaced the injured Edgar Renteria. He grounded out in the 8th. A first hit - and so far only MLB safety - came on 21 April against the Washington Nationals.

At Richmond this season, Pena had 298 ABs batting .282/.312/.359 and just 12 walks.

The Baseball Cube


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