Feb 24, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher Francisco Pena poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Francisco Pena Made an Impression on the Royals Before Being Sent Down


Even though he had to know he was a long shot to make the Kansas City Royals, it still must not have been welcome news for Francisco Pena to find out that he was being sent down to the AAA Omaha Stormchasers.

Yet, even with the news that he was being sent down, Pena made an impression. More than his ninth inning home run that gave the Royals a tie against the Oakland Athletics on Friday, Pena also impressed with his work ethic and defense, making several plays on balls in the dirt that show his talents defensively.

Feb 24, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher Francisco Pena poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ned Yost certainly came away with a positive reaction to Francisco Pena’s play, despite having to option him to the minors.

“One (goal) was to make the team and the other thing was to come in here and really make a great impression, new to the organization, and he did,” Yost said. “He made a phenomenal impression on all of us. He can catch, he can throw, he can swing the bat. Some of those blocks he made today were as good of blocks as you’re going to see in a big league game.”

Although Brett Hayes is likely to have won the backup catcher spot for the Royals, Francisco Pena has certainly made a case that he could be the future backup for Salvador Perez as soon as next year. Pena, with his ability to hit for power and strong defensive background, could end up being a nice option for those days when Yost wants to give Perez a day off.

Francisco Pena, after six years in the New York Mets organization, could have a future with the Royals. He certainly took a great first step towards that this spring.

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  • jimfetterolf

    As I recall he’s still young, so a few months in Omaha and he’s ready if Hayes isn’t doing the job. Sensible signing.

    • Dave Hill

      You’re correct – Pena will be 24 this year. He looks like he could be an interesting player for the Royals next season, or even this year if Hayes gets injured or does not perform well. His signing may have been very underrated this offseason.

      • jimfetterolf

        If what Ned Yost is saying is accurate, this makes sense. Hayes looks to have the inside track, but isn’t a good defender and has a weak stick. Yost won’t care if Pena hits a hundred as long as he frames, blocks, and throws. Old catchers are OCD that way.

        BTW, Judging the Royals is back up, couple of good columns so far.