Houston Astros: Prospect Review – Jeremy Pena SS/IF

The son of former big leaguer Geronimo Pena, the 6’0” right-handed hitting Jeremy Pena plans to pave his own path to the majors with the Houston Astros.

At 21 years old, Jeremy Pena is looking to do what his father before him has done, break out into the major leagues. While Geronimo Pena was more known for his bat, Jeremy is profiled more as a defensive wizard in the infield. Something the Astros have long been known to have and groom.

Houston Astros Prospect #27 – Jeremy Pena – IF (Tri-City ValleyCats Low A Affiliate)

The Early Years: 

Jeremy Pena began his athletic career while attending Classical High School in Providence, Rhode Island. While there, the two-sport athlete participated in both baseball and track and field. His accolades include a state championship for track and field and two nominations to the All-Division team for Rhode Island. His senior year he collected a captaincy for the Purples, as well as a .390 batting average.

After enrolling at the University of Maine, Jeremy focused on his baseball abilities capping off a freshman year that saw him steal eleven bases, compiled a .283 batting average with 58 hits, and earning a spot on the American East All-Rookie Team. He would go on to show off his excellent speed in his sophomore year as he totaled 72 hits, four of which were triples, and six home runs. He also had an impressive 19-game hitting streak, cumulating in an impressive .319 average.

In his final campaign for the Black Bears, Pena topped the team in triples with five, collected another 13-game hit streak, and finished second on the team with a .308 average. He also swiped ten bases and knocked in five home runs. This was good enough to land him on the American East Second Team.

Pre-Draft / Cape Cod League:

While in the beautiful Massachusetts air, the now 20-year-old Pena flashed the leather as he was awarded an All-Star spot in the Cape Cod League based on his defensive work. His bat, however, seemed a bit overmatched by the talent as he only could amass 29 hits in 127 at-bats. This was good for a .228 average and only two stolen bases.

Draft experts lauded his defensive prowess, noting that his smooth stride and range were well above average to play shortstop. Not many college shortstops stay at the position, however, Pena’s arm was also noted by draft experts to be above average.

The Draft:

After a productive time in Cape Cod, Pena found himself slotted in at #168 of the top 200 draft prospects by MLB.com. Profiled as a premium defensive player, experts also noted that he needed work with his swing. Namely, they pointed out his aggressive nature at the plate, accruing a lot of swings and misses

Pena had to wait a time to have his name called, however. The Astros were enamored by his profile so much they selected him 102nd overall in the 3rd round. The highest a player from the University of Maine has ever been selected.

 Tri-City ValleyCats:

In his first season of pro ball, Jeremy Pena was designated to the Tri-City ValleyCats, which saw him play in only 36 games. He collected 34 hits, but the over-aggressive nature of his bat showed through as he struck out 19 times in that period.

Defensively he attributed greatly to the ValleyCats. 115 of Pena’s 126 defensive chances to get his man out, Pena succeeded. Garnering 42 put-outs, 73 assists and turning 14 double plays that was good for a .923 fielding percentage.

 The Future:

As many draft experts have stated before, Pena needs to learn how to temper his aggressive nature. The defensive work is there to be an everyday shortstop on a major league team, but if his bat doesn’t hold up it doesn’t matter what you can do with your glove.

He does possess exceptional glove work, reminding me a lot of Tim Anderson or Jordy Mercer. He is highly skilled at his position and will rank in the top 10 defensively at the end of each year, but lacking in the consistency department with his bat. If he works on his over-aggressive nature and fixes some of his issues, I could see him even being as reliable as David Eckstein.

It will be interesting to see how his progression goes.

Ceiling Player ProjectionJose Iglesias
Floor Player Projection: Jordy Mercer
Predicted MLB Date: 2021

Ceiling / Floor projection is not an indication of the player each prospect will become. It is a prediction of the production they could have at a major league level given their progress thru the minor league system.