If the Houston Astros are just one win away from winning the World Series, it’s because they are a dominant team with several above-average contributors.
It’s time to include young shortstop Jeremy Pena on that shortlist, too.
Pena was good, but not great in the regular season: he hit 22 homers and stole 11 bases, but slashed .253/.289/.426 with a 102 wRC+ and 3.4 Wins Above Replacement.
His excellent defense made the Astros more open to living with his low OBP.
An Incredible Postseason For Pena
In the postseason, however, he has morphed into a reliable contributor.
“@Jpena221 this Postseason – Batting .333 – Hit safely in 11 of 12 games – 7 game hitting streak – 5 multi-hit games. The @astros rookie is raking,” MLB Network tweeted.
.@Jpena221 this Postseason 📊
– Batting .333
– Hit safely in 11 of 12 games
– 7 game hitting streak
– 5 multi-hit games
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 4, 2022
He has hit clutch homer after clutch homer in the playoffs, and his defense remains top notch: in fact, he was recognized this week as the best shortstop in the American League, taking home the Gold Glove.
But he was also the MVP of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, and has been equally good in the Fall Classic against the Philadelphia Phillies.
If Pena can make strides with his plate discipline in upcoming seasons, he can reach top-20 territory in MLB.
His defense is that good, as is his power-speed combo.
For as good as he already is, he is still a work in progress and requires more patience.
It’s scary to think how good he can become if he is already pacing one of the best offenses in MLB in the World Series, no less.