Houston Astros: Prospects in the Dominican Winter League playoffs
The Dominican Winter League is home to former, future, and current stars, and for the Houston Astros, two of their prospects played in the LIDOM playoffs in late December and January. Jeremy Peña and José Siri played against each other in the semifinal matchup of the Estrellas Orientales against the Gigantes del Cibao.
Peña excelled in the regular season, and before the playoffs, I checked in on his regular season and career progress. The righty won the Rookie of the Year award along with a Gold Glove for shortstop for the regular season. As a platoon infielder, Peña played shortstop the entire regular season, but the arrival of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Robinson Cano for the postseason forced the Astros prospect to play at the hot corner.
While playing only a few innings at second base in the first miniseries against the Leones del Escogido, Peña moved over to third for the rest of the playoffs. The Estrellas would roll past the Leones 2-0 in a best of 3 series. While not struggling defensively in the playoffs, Peña did hit a rough patch at the plate. He hit 8-34 (.235) and wasn’t showing much slug in his swing. Two home runs and six singles were the only hits to his name, and while only hitting three home runs all of the regular season, there is some quiet pop in his bat. As the everyday leadoff hitter, Peña wasn’t walking as much (2) in the playoffs while striking out seven times. Seven total runs and two RBIs also appear under Peña’s stat line, which in the end, does help his case; his job is to get on base. In Game 4 against the Gigantes, he reached base three times without any of his hits reaching the outfield.
Peña’s Estrellas would fall 0-3 in the series before storming back to a close 2-3 series that would end with the Gigantes moving onto the championship after their fourth win. He showed out in the LIDOM Winter League, and while he did have some struggles in the playoffs, he was consistent in the regular season. Defense will not be a worry for the #4 ranked Astros prospect according to MLB Pipeline, but a big bat will be something missing on his resume which won’t affect his quickness and ability to get on base. Peña makes a decent case to see the major leagues come late 2022 or early 2023, but the young star hasn’t seen baseball past A ball yet.
Siri signed with the Astros on Dec. 23, 2020, and he was mid at-bat in an LIDOM regular season game when he found out. The right-hander is still considered a prospect although he has been bouncing around minor league systems since 2013. Siri has been a recent attender of the Dominican Winter League and was a member of the Gigantes for 2020-21. As the everyday centerfielder, Siri won a Gold Glove for the position and was making acrobatic plays in the outfield.
Siri has been the main leadoff hitter for the Gigantes, and he was slugging. In his first playoff series against the Estrellas, the righty hit .392 with three home runs (two being in one game). Siri was scoring runs, stealing bases, and bringing in runs as he had 7 RBIs. In game 6 against the Estrellas, “El Rayo,” or “The Lightning” in English, stole two bases in one inning.
Siri and the Gigantes advanced to the the championship series, and his regression began here. Through seven games, the right-hander slashed .276 and launched two home runs. Siri would finish with five postseason homers, while only having three in the regular season. Siri led off and played center field every game and saw no issues in the field. He has the speed to get on base and score easily on extra base hits, but he does also show short stints of power in his swing. In Game 6 of the series, he shot a three-run homer to put the Gigantes into striking distance in the 9th inning. He also would hit an RBI double in Game 7 in the 9th inning to put the Gigantes back in the game. They would end up losing both games, but Siri has been a diligent, smart player in tough situations. His team would end up blowing a 3-1 lead in the championship series.
As an all-around talented player as seen in the Dominican, Siri might not see a lot of time for the Astros. He is an outfielder with natural speed, and along with his goofy personality, Siri would be a team player in the club house if he makes the Opening Day roster. While on a minor-league deal, he will have to prove himself more in Spring Training.