The Utica Brewers of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League have signed 2013 Rawlings/Perfect Game Preseason Senior High School All-American Juan Carlos “JC” Pena for the 2013 PGCBL season. Pena, currently a senior at Westhill High School in Syracuse, N.Y., will attend the University of Iowa beginning in the fall of 2013.
Pena was an All-Central New York and New York Class B All-State selection as a junior after batting .469 with 28 runs scored, 18 runs batted in and 23 stolen bases in 25 games for the Section III champion Warriors. The 19-year-old is a product of the Syracuse Sports Zone Chiefs program and a rising star that has competed in numerous tournaments and showcases for Perfect Game USA. Pena was named to the All-Tournament Team at Perfect Game’s 2012 World Wood Bat Association World Championship. He helped the Chiefs reach the Sweet 16 round. Pena topped his team in batting average (.357), on-base percentage (.536) and slugging percentage (.526).
One year prior, the Westhill shortstop and relief pitcher participated in Perfect Game’s 2011 Mid-Atlantic Showcase. Pena graded out at a 9.0 and earned a spot on the Mid-Atlantic Showcase’s Top Prospect List. Pena’s performance at the PG-sponsored event helped him earn Rawlings/Perfect Game Preseason High School Underclass All-American accolades in 2012. In addition to competing in Perfect Game competition, Pena has also participated in the East Coast Pro Showcase and the Area Code Games.
The Iowa-bound infielder is among the top professional prospects in New York according to Perfect Game USA. Pena is the top-ranked shortstop in the Empire State and he is among the top 10 in the state overall. At the national level, PG scouts have listed Pena among the top 350 players. ESPN/Area Code rated Pena in their “Super 60” for the Class of 2013. He is listed 48th nationally overall and then among shortstops he is ranked second in the Mid-Atlantic Region and seventh overall.
Pena’s father, Juan Enrique Pena, played semi-professional baseball and his grandfather, Geromino Pena, enjoyed a 12-year professional baseball career which included seven seasons in the Major Leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians.
“The Brewers are extremely excited to have one of the best players in New York State and one of the top high school players in the country representing the Utica Brewers and playing in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League in the summer of 2013” said the team in a press release.
According to University of Iowa head coach Jack Dahm, Pena is expected to compete for playing time as a freshman. “We’re very excited about J.C.’s skill level. He is a true shortstop that has all the tools to be a big-time player in this league. J.C. has played a lot of baseball and he has a very good feel for the game” remarked Dahm in a school-issued press release regarding Iowa’s incoming class for the 2013-2014 school year.