The American League Rookie of the Year race this year should be worth watching all season long.
J-Rod was called upon to man one of the M’s outfield spots amid some injuries and underperforming performers.
He has filled in admirably, showing an incredible blend of power, speed, and defense that goes well beyond his years.
But Pena has been equally amazing, if not more.
The Astros infielder was called up this year to replace a franchise icon, Carlos Correa, and he has quickly made fans forget about him.
Astros insider Chandler Rome, who covers the team for the Houston Chronicle, made a comparison between Rodriguez and Pena, with the ROY race in mind.
“Julio Rodriguez after 334 plate appearances: .275/.335/.489, 15 HR, 20 SB, 140 wRC+, 2.9 fWAR, 2 defensive runs saved. Jeremy Peña after 244 plate appearances: .278/.329/.475, 11 HR, 6 SB, 132 wRC+, 2.7 fWAR, 8 defensive runs saved,” he wrote.
Julio Rodriguez after 334 plate appearances: .275/.335/.489, 15 HR, 20 SB, 140 wRC+, 2.9 fWAR, 2 defensive runs saved.
Jeremy Peña after 244 plate appearances: .278/.329/.475, 11 HR, 6 SB, 132 wRC+, 2.7 fWAR, 8 defensive runs saved.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) July 5, 2022
Both Players Have Been Equally Impressive
For starters, we can see that Pena is just 0.2 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) behind Rodriguez, but with almost 100 fewer plate appearances to his name.
That’s because he has missed some time with injuries, but every time he is on the field, he has made his presence felt with excellent offensive numbers.
While not as impressive as Rodriguez’s, Pena also has a good power-speed combo to show.
If we combine that with the fact he is a plus-plus defender at shortstop, an important up-the-middle position, both players are very, very close.
We will see after the season if voters reward one of them with the Rookie of the Year award.
Both young stars are deserving of the recognition.