Royals: Top prospect rewind, outfielder Erick Peña
By Jordan Foote
16-year old Erick Peña has a lot of room to grow, and the Kansas City Royals should be patient with his development over the next few years.
On the first day of 2019’s international signing period, the Kansas City Royals signed outfielder Erick Peña to a deal with a $3.8 million signing bonus. With a farm system still on the rebuild, much like the MLB team, signing a player who was then the No. 5 player on the MLB International Prospects list was a huge boost. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez loved the move:
"Pena is an athletic outfielder who can hit and play defense. The offense-oriented outfielder can run enough to keep him in center field as he progresses, but there is a chance he ends up in right field. At the moment, hit and power are Pena’s best tools, but the other parts of his game are not far behind. The left-handed hitter has a sound approach at the plate with a slight uppercut swing and hard contact to all fields. He projects to have plus power and does not have a lot of swing and miss, already showing strength and quickness through the strike zone, with the ball jumping off his bat."
There you have it. In addition to Peña receiving positive reviews when the transaction was made, there have even been a few comparisons drawn to Royals legend Carlos Beltran. Hearing about an outfielder with a good hit tool is likely a refreshing note for Royals fans, as the club is currently dealing with a couple of questionable bats in center field.
Already standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 180 pounds, Peña has a body mature beyond his years. On top of that, he has plenty of room to grow and add strength as he adjusts to a minor league workout and nutrition plan. It’s easy to look at his potential and get excited.
Peña currently ranks as the No. 23 prospect in the Royals’ minor league system. That ranking could look foolish once he begins playing games and showing off his talent. MLB Pipeline lists his MLB ETA as 2024, so it’ll take a bit before we see Erick Peña patrolling the outfield of Kauffman Stadium. Once it happens, though, the team will be better off and could have yet another piece to build around for the next decade.