Astros: Jeremy Pena Continues to Show Defensive Promise in LIDOM

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

After missing a majority of the 2021 Triple-A season with a wrist injury, Jeremy Pena returned to action with his best slugging numbers of his career. The Houston Astros‘ prospect picked up a hot bat backed behind a new surge of power, but only 30 games were left to his name this past year.

Pena had opportunities coming into this offseason to add more experience to his name, and while now on the 40-man roster, the shortstop could see his debut at some point in 2022.

While not being able to play in the Arizona Fall League, since he was on the Astros’ postseason tax squad, Pena returned to the Dominican Winter League (LIDOM) for a second straight year.

Astros’ Jeremy Pena returns to LIDOM for a second year, as his defense continues to excel.

In his rookie LIDOM season of 2020-2021, Pena picked up the Rookie of the Year award, as well as a Gold Glove for shortstop. With the emergence of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Robinson Cano on the Estrellas Orientales, Pena was pushed to third base for the postseason, where he continued to play at an elite level.

This season, Pena leads all LIDOM shortstops in Ultimate Zone Rating (6.977) and Ultimate Zone Rating per 40 Defensive Games (12.037) in 208.2 innings played. The infielders that lurk behind Pena sit almost five or more UZR value below his 40-game projection.

Ultimate Zone Rating is more accurate in a full-season sample size, so it isn’t beneficial to compare this statistic to Carlos Correa, who played 148 games in 2021 at a different professional level.

Pena has shown promise and consistency in his glove, but his numbers at the plate haven’t mirrored his Triple-A production. In 101 at-bats, the right-hander is slashing .297/.339/.406, giving him an OPS below the league average in Major League Baseball.

The 24-year-old has only one home run in 25 games thus far in LIDOM, which is nine less in relation to his 30-game sample in Triple-A this year. The season is still young, and with the LIDOM postseason coming next month, Pena has opportunities to flash more pop in his bat.

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Of other 40-man rostered position players in LIDOM, Jose Siri returned for his fifth season in the Dominican Republic. The outfielder has been consistent in the box and above average in the field.