Correa won the Gold Glove award in 2021, hit 26 home runs, and scored 104 runs: they were big shoes.
But the young Pena has been extremely impressive so far in his brief MLB showing, and is showing he is capable of building his own legacy as the next great Astros infielder.
For the season, his .242/.305/.495 slash line may not seem all that impressive, especially from an OBP standpoint, but he has been well above-average considering the current offensive landscape in the league.
Nobody is hitting a lick, yet Pena is slugging almost .500 and has hit six homers.
He has also contributed 16 runs, 15 RBI, and a stolen base for good measure.
Not only that, but he also rates as a good baserunner and as an incredible defender at shortstop.
A WAR King
As a result of his all-around performances and contributions, he is well-positioned in the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) leaderboards, according to Baseball Reference.
2022 AL Batting WAR Leaders
Mike Trout (1.9)
Jeremy Pena (1.7)
Jose Ramirez (1.7)
J.P. Crawford (1.7)
All Leaders: https://t.co/t3VjjWzPCx
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) May 9, 2022
We knew Pena was good, but frankly, we didn’t expect him to be second in American League WAR after more than a month of baseball.
It goes to show that the Astros’ player development staff may be underrated, and that we are in presence of a special player.
More often than not, we fixate on offensive production when evaluating MLB talent, but defense has to be in the equation, too.
And Pena’s defense is excellent.
He is good and talented enough to keep this up: will he be consistent enough?
We will find out soon.