Houston Astros fans are vocalizing their approval of shortstop Jeremy Peña and for a good reason. This season, the evergreen rookie has held his own, albeit it’s still early.
Is it too early to dub Peña better than the former Astros, new Twins shortstop, Carlos Correa?
After a seven-year career in Houston, Correa set the bar high, and MLB pros and veterans tout him as one of the best shortstops in the sport. The franchise great started as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Astros but went above and beyond that, eventually proving himself influential in the Astros’ rise to World Series champs.
Although the argument in favor of Peña should be based on the situational choice for his team versus a true comparison this early in the season, it’s hard not to compare Peña to his predecessor. Where Correa has had a rough start to his season, Peña hit the ground running.
Astros: Comparing Jeremy Peña to Carlos Correa
In Minneapolis, Correa is unlikely to hit sub-.200, and his durability report leaves room for improvement.
In comparison, Peña’s impressive .308 average gained widespread accolades from fans and teammates, many naming him a future superstar. As premature as this claim might be in the absence of a valid sample to base it on, he might be up for the task.
The overall package deal, including speed, number of bases stolen in minors, a good eye at the plate, and a slick glove at short, speaks volumes about Peña.
The other part of the equation, the situational facts versus talent, includes the fact that Peña is three years younger than Correa and is under the Astros’ control for several more years.
Additionally, Peña’s $700,000 earnings this season are 45 times less than Correa’s and considerable savings to the Astros, benefiting potential future roster moves.
Peña will likely shrink from his current average; however, for someone who’s barely gotten their toes wet in the majors, he is on fire. It could be safe to say he is everything the Astros needed as he not only fills Correa’s shoes but possibly outshines him.
Peña lends high WAR and value to Houston, arguably overshadowing his lack of big-league experience compared with Correa. While it might be a pretentious claim, Peña undoubtedly has the stamina and attitude to live up to the heat for the long haul.
Whether you are Team Correa or Team Peña, both teams and players could potentially experience a win-win-win situation. Minneapolis benefits from one of the best shortstops in MLB.
At the same time, Correa builds his stamina and proves his durability after his previous blunder with an off-field rib injury because of an at-home massage.
Meanwhile, Peña continues to prove himself in Houston, while the Astros take full advantage of his talent while he’s hot. He’ll undoubtedly be a possible gold glove contender, even as a rookie.
However green he may be to the majors, Peña will prove his worth to critics and skeptics over time as his stats speak to defensive and at-bat abilities. Only time will tell who the better shortstop truly is.