Thursday, December 2, 2010

2004 Topps, Brayan Pena

#300 Brayan Pena

Here is a card of the former Brave and current Royal, Brayan Pena. I got this card signed at the first Royals game I attended in 2009. I got it signed by the Royals dugout after batting practice and that might have been the last time I 'graphed by the Royals dugout. This past season, the Royals changed their gate-opening times from two hours prior to gametime to one hour prior, so it is almost impossible to catch the Royals batting practice.

On the day I got this card signed, I thought Brayan ignored me when I asked him to sign. He was walking off the field with a couple of bats and his helmet when I asked him. He just kept on walking into the tunnel to the clubhouse, so I started to scan for the next target. The next thing I knew, Brayan popped back out of the tunnel after setting his bats down and signed my cards for me. It was a nice surprise.

Through six partial Major League seasons, Brayan has collected 450 at-bats. In those ABs, he has a .253 batting average with 25 doubles, 9 home runs, and 49 RBI. Those are alright numbers for a backup catcher. The only problem with that last sentence is the "catcher" part. Brayan looks like a capable Major League hitter. It's his catching I have issues with. There are some times watching him behind the plate that I wish the Royals still had Miguel Olivo back there and that is a scary thought.

Some people gave the Royals a lot of crap last year for sending Jason Kendall out to catch every single game. They wanted to see what Brayan could do. While I too got tired of seeing Kendall playing seven games a week, I do not think that Brayan would have been an upgrade defensively. Maybe the Royals already knew that Brayan wasn't a viable option behind the plate and they kept putting Kendall out there for a lack of options. Who knows? With Kendall out for the first part of 2011, it will be interesting to see what the Royals catching situation looks like when the season begins.

So far, every player I have posted from the '04 Topps set (whose cleats are visible) has been sporting a pair of Adidas cleats. Will the trend continue? Tune in tomorrow to find out.

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