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Jeremy Peña Sees Big Leagues Up Close

Consider it a first taste for Jeremy Peña.

The 24-year-old shortstop had played just 30 games above High-A and endured two consecutive truncated seasons, but the Astros included him on their taxi squad throughout a 16-game postseason run to the World Series.

Peña accompanied the Astros on the road, sat in the dugout during games and took pregame batting practice alongside the major leaguers. He occasionally alternated ground balls and infield drills with Carlos Correa, the man he may soon replace.

“They’re all leaders. They’re all mentors. They all take us in, give us tips and give us advice,” Peña said. “Correa’s been great. Every time I get to catch ground balls with him, he’s always giving me tips. You appreciate guys like that. You want to be around guys like that.”

Houston’s loss in Game 6 of the World Series shifted focus to its future. Correa’s free agency—and the void he would leave if he signs elsewhere—will dominate the discourse.

Peña’s presence must factor into Houston’s decision-making. He joins the 40-man roster this offseason for Rule 5 protection. He hit 16 extra-base hits in 30 games with Triple-A Sugar Land in September, a promising sign given the fractured wrist he sustained in April.

Few question Peña’s defensive prowess, but whether he will hit enough to become an everyday player is unknown. After the Astros’ playoff loss, Peña left for another stint in the Dominican League, where he was the winter league's top rookie award winner in 2020.

This season, Peña departed with intentions to improve his plate coverage, be more consistent in his approach and—above all—get the consistent playing time absent for so much of his minor league career.

“He’s always been a natural athlete, but he has really dedicated himself to getting stronger,” Astros general manager James Click said. “Watching his batting practice during the playoffs was really impressive.

"Whether he’s ready or not, that’s ultimately up to him. We’ll assess that and determine how it fits into the roster going forward, but there’s no question he’s worked himself into being a real factor for us.”

Luis Matos Billmitchell

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