Catching up with RHP Carlos Pena

Carlos Pena

On a cold and rainy January afternoon, most high school student-athletes are listening to a teacher, participating in a lab experiment, or simply letting their minds wander to the upcoming spring time weather.

Inside Next Level Fitness in Gahanna, Carlos Pena is busy training and throwing for area Major League scouts. 

Using a make shift mound, Pena smiles and laughs as he rears back and throws to an area college catcher that has agreed to catch his bullpen.

86 mph.

Looking at him, you wouldn't think he had a care in the world. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound right handed pitcher is just a boy in a grown man's body. 

87 mph.

The next one gets away, but Pena doesn't show much emotion. After the ball bounces off the screen, he beats his catcher to the spot, picks it up, and heads back to the mound.

88 mph.

_ _ _ _ _ _

Pena isn't your typical student-athlete.

Last summer, he made the decision to drop out of Columbus West High School, where he played one season of high school baseball, and work towards the completion of his GED.

While his original plans were to enroll in Sinclair Community College at the beginning of this month, Pena found his path changing and his enrollment shifted to this coming fall.

But, change isn't anything new to this young man.

71 mph curveball.

_ _ _ _ _ _

After living in the Dominican Republic, New York City, and eventually Columbus, Ohio, Pena has grown accustom to adapting.

A little over two years ago, Pena connected with Chris and Isaiah Bond, who run G.E.T., Graduates Excelling for Tomorrow.

G.E.T. helps students, predominantly in Columbus Public City Schools, through a number of different programs, including: After School Enrichment, Mentoring Programs, and an Annual College Experience Tour for student athletes during the summer. 

Pena connected with the Bond brothers while attending an international school within the Columbus Public City School system.

With his dad working to support his family and his mom still in the Dominican Republic, Pena quickly struck up a relationship with the Bond family.

Recognizing his love for baseball, the Bond brothers connected him with former MLB pitcher John Pacella and former Rio Grande standout Kevin Hale of Big League Baseball Academy in Worthington.

Later, he joined the Ohio Elite Baseball program in the summer of 2010 and went on to play in a number of Perfect Game events this summer and fall with the Florida Hardballers.

After a summer of lighting up the radar guns with a fastball reaching into the 90's, Pena earned the opportunity to play for Brian Hopkins and highly regarded Midwest Redbirds (the St. Louis Cardinals scout team) this fall as well. 

Now, with his college enrollment pushed back, Pena continues to immerse himself in his studies (he takes the GED in March) while maintaining a regimented training schedule.

79 mph changeup.

_ _ _ _ _ _

This time of year, many student-athletes are busy working with their summer teams, participating in open gyms, or taking lessons on the side.

Carlos doesn't have that luxury.

With the scouts packing up and beginning to walk away, Pena jumps into the cage and ask to take some swings. For him, this opportunity doesn't come along every week.

Hack after hack, it is apparent that Pena's tools best suit him for the mound.

But, during this moment, the discussion isn't about projectability.

It isn't about college. 

It isn't about the draft.

It is about escaping reality and simply enjoying the love of the game.




Top Prospect Games June 4-5