- Full name Ramon Antonio Pena
- Born 01/09/1982 in Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 240 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Liceo Ecilia Pepin
- Debut 07/18/2006
Organization Prospect Rankings
While most of the players involved in the Dominican age scandal a few years ago have washed out of pro ball, Pena (formerly known as Adriano Rosario and believed to be five years younger) looks like he'll contribute in Arizona. After he missed most of the 2004 season and performed poorly as a starter in 2005, he took to a new role in the bullpen last season. With a mid-90s fastball and a slider that usually sits in the high 80s, Pena has a power repertoire well suited to bullpen work. His velocity and movement give him room for error with his pitches, and working in relief has allowed him to just let those pitches go and not worry so much about finesse. Refining his command in the strike zone will be the final step in Pena's development, as major league hitters punished him after he had been dominant in the minors. His changeup is inconsistent and average at best, but that's not much of a concern now that he's pitching in relief. Pena has missed time each of the past two springs because of visa issues, but if he comes to camp on time and in shape this year, he should win a job in the major league bullpen.
Pena's has become the poster child for the Dominican age scandals early in the decade. Once thought to be Adriano Rosario and five years younger, he missed almost all of 2004 while his true identity and the circumstances of his signing were investigated. Given an opportunity to compete for Arizona's fifth starter's job in spring training last year, he developed a strained elbow that bothered him throughout the season. Pena's fastball, once in the upper 90s, sat at 91-93 mph in 2005. His breaking ball and changeup are both average, and he commands all of his pitches well. Without his power fastball, Pena struggled with the intricacies of pitching, failing to set up hitters and grooving too many fastballs. Some scouts think his aggressiveness lends itself better to relief work. The Diamondbacks hope a well-rested Pena will be at 100 percent for 2006. If he shows up firing bullets at spring training, he'll begin the year in Triple-A and should get his first big league look later in the season.
He began last year as Adriano Rosario, 18-year-old phenom. He ended it as Ramon Pena, a 23-year-old who had falsified his visa information. The Diamondbacks weren't blamed, and they also were cleared of any wrongdoing when it came to light that independent talent developer Ivan Noboa (whose brother Junior coordinates Arizona's scouting in Latin America) double-dipped, collecting $100,000 from the team as well. as $100,000 from Pena's $400,000 bonus. He may be much older than originally thought, but Pena still has the best pure stuff in the system. He effortlessly commands a 92-94 mph fastball that he can dial up to 97-98 to blow batters away or dial down to 88-91 to add movement. His slider has developed into a solid offering. The two-pitch combination is enough to make him a closer if he has to move to the bullpen. Pena needs to add deception to his changeup in order to remain a starter. He favors overpowering hitters as opposed to setting them up. With his true age revealed, he has gone from advanced to raw for his age. While he looked rusty in the Dominican League, his primary focus was on resolving his legal problems. Granted a visa in January, he'll begin the season by returning to Double-A.
Rosario is so mature and confident that some in the low Class A Midwest League questioned his age in 2003. But Arizona hired a private investigator to verify his background before signing him for $400,000. A shortstop growing up, Rosario hit 98 mph at Arizona's Dominican complex that April, prompting scouting director Mike Rizzo to set aside his predraft duties in 2002 to fly down to sign him. Rosario has the makings of three plus pitches. He throws his four-seam fastball up to 97-98 mph, and his two-seamer has more movement at 93-95. His slider and changeup are inconsistent, but could also be out pitches. He has a clean delivery and calm demeanor on the mound. The Diamondbacks don't question his durability, but are curious to see how he'll hold up after going from 77 innings in 2002 to 160 in 2003. He should miss a lot more bats than he did in the MWL. The Diamondbacks don't shy away from saying Rosario has No. 1 starter potential. He could join Dustin Nippert in a powerful Double-A rotation in 2004.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Slider in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007
- Rated Best Fastball in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007