Jeremy Peña got to Sunday with 12 career games in the MLB under his belt. But what he’s done over the diamond is a reason to be excited about the 24-year-old’s future at shortstop for the Astros. Even though he had to fill Carlos Correa’s huge void, he’s been nothing but great and has fulfilled every possible expectation both defensively and offensively.
Peña is slashing .286/.354/.548 with a .902 OPS across 49 plate appearances. He’s 12-for-42 to start his career with three doubles, one triple, two home runs, four RBIs, eight runs, four walks, and 11 strikeouts so far. This kind of stats –along with how Peña looks on the field—, makes us wonder
And guess what? Those numbers are very comparable to what Correa did in his first 12 games with the Astros in 2015, his debut year. Take a look at this and compare these stats to Peña’s:
Carlos Correa through 12 career games:
That’s pretty similar to what Peña’s done in the same number of games. There are other things that push us to believe that a great future is on the horizon for the young Dominican kid.
For example, since 1901, only 29 hitters have had three three-hit games in their first eight career contests. The other Astro on that list is Héctor Torres, a former Mexican infielder who did it back in 1968 when the team was part of the National League.
One favorable aspect about Peña is how different he’s been from his first years in the Minors, when he wasn’t considered a guy with much power. But right now, his exit velocity average (92.2 MPH) is way above the league’s (88.3 MPH) as well as his hard-hit percentage (48.6%, way higher than the league’s 35.5%).
Peña is also among the 25 major-leaguers who see the most sliders in the whole league (21st). While for others it might be a difficult pitch to hit, Peña has nailed it with a .313 batting average and a .750 slg. off that delivery, including his two four-baggers and one double.
The Astros’ new shortstop could have some regression around the corner given how aggressive he’s been at the plate. He’s the Astro with the highest swing percentage right now (52.4%) and his whiff percentage (26.8%) is getting up, especially after six strikeouts in his last five games (not including Sunday).
Putting pressure on Peña’s shoulders by expecting him to produce like Correa from the go could be suicidal, even more considering how the team has been hitting in the most recent series. But so far, Jeremy is off to a good, encouraging start to his career.