It included an extended slump and a lousy second half in which his OPS was lower than .700, so you could say it was a time to learn: after all, he was a rookie.
In the end, his .289 OPS indicates he still has a lot of work to discern balls from strikes, but there were lots of positive signs.
He was a star with a glove on his hand, hit 22 home runs, and stole 11 bases.
That defensive performance earned him the Gold Glove award over several top fielders, including the man he was replacing in Houston: Carlos Correa.
By the time the postseason started, it was evident that Pena hit another gear and got hot at the right time.
An Incredible Postseason Run For The Rookie
He was already helping in the Division Series against the Seattle Mariners, but he took over his team’s offense (and defense) and was named the MVP of both the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees and the World Series vs. the Philadelphia Phillies.
“Still can’t get over @Jpena221‘s ALCS and WS run: 16-42 AB, .381 AVG, 7 XBH, 7 RBI, 1.086 OPS. A legendary Postseason for the @astros ROOKIE,” MLB Network tweeted.
Still can't get over @Jpena221's ALCS and WS run 🤯
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 8, 2022
That was just in the ALCS and the Fall Classic, and does not include some really impressive defensive plays that in some cases saved runs from being scored by the opposition.
It’s hard to digest the fact that he did all that in his first year of MLB experience.
He was a rookie, yet played with the composure and calmness of a seasoned veteran.
Houston has a good one for the foreseeable future.