After just 17 games, it’s clear that the Jeremy Peña era is here to stay in Houston. Exactly who is this player making Astros fans say “Carlos Correa who?” In this Fantasy Baseball Player Spotlight, we will dive into the 24-year-old shortstop who already is turning heads around the league with his bat and his glove. Let’s dive into Peña’s production and see if he is worth the hype and a starting place on our fantasy rosters. 

In a very small measure of payback for last season’s World Series, the Astros gaining Peña in the 2018 amateur draft was the Atlanta Braves’ loss. Peña was originally drafted out of high school by Atlanta, but chose not to sign, instead attending University of Maine before the Astros picked him in the third round after his junior year. 

He has a 60-grade glove, 55-grade speed, and enough pop and hit tools to be a future 25 HR/15 SB player in this league. But will we get that level of production this year? Actually, it’s possible. 

Peña and the Projections

Here are the preseason projections on Peña from each of the major systems. These were all from before the season began.

ZiPS DC126546204949115.3%26.6%0.2540.3040.424
THE BAT X11545611534697.1%25.4%0.240.3030.379
THE BAT11545611534687.1%25.4%0.240.3030.378

The first thing that stands out to you is that there were several projection systems ready to call him a 20/10 player even before he played his first major league inning. But what’s even more encouraging is that none of these projections put him at more than 126 games this year. Having played in 17 of the Astros’ first 18 games, it’s clear Peña will pass the 125-game threshold if he can stay healthy. 

Just 140-145 games would put him in the range of 25/15 with most of these projections. He already has three homers on the year but has yet to attempt a steal. Will that come later? Hopefully, but a rookie in Peña's situation is likely going out there and trying not to make a mistake. When he has more confidence and freedom after more success, maybe a green light on the basepaths will appear. 



Peña With Pop

Where Peña has impressed most is with his pop off the bat. Even in just his first 70 plate appearances, he is showing the ability to hit the ball hard and do it consistently. Among all shortstops with at least 50 batted ball events, here are Peña’s ranks in the standard Statcast data. 


SS Rank





Avg. EV


Max EV


Avg. Distance


Hard Hit%


You can’t find a Statcast number where he doesn’t rank top-ten at the position, which has lent itself to an 88th percentile barrel rate this season. Combine that with a 96th percentile speed score, and in Peña, we have a dual-threat player who could become a serious contributor in fantasy for the rest of the season. 


Peña at the Plate

The other thing about Peña’s early profile is that he already seems to have plate discipline well beyond his years. His 22.9% strikeout rate is 14th-best among all qualified shortstops and is better than players like Bo Bichette, Carlos Correa, and is tied with Xander Bogaerts. His walk rate is seventh-best among shortstops, primarily due to the fact that his swinging strike rate is only around 13.5% this year. 

We would hope and expect that a 24-year-old rookie would enter the league with many of these skills intact. We expect it when rookies like Julio Rodríguez struggle at age-21 because they haven’t had as much professional seasoning as players approaching their mid-20’s. But Pena seems to be a mature hitter with just enough pop and speed to make him dangerous in fantasy. There is no one coming for Peña's job this year, so he is an investment worth making even in shallow fantasy leagues. 


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