Batting eighth in the dream 2024 Astros lineup, Jeremy Pena at SS
For the #8 spot in our lineup, we want the worst hitter in our lineup and that comes down to the center field spot or shortstop. Center field has a strong bat that the Astros could pilfer off the free agent market and given that, shortstop gets the nod for the eighth spot in the lineup.
The question then becomes does Houston roll with (in an ideal world) Jeremy Pena who is coming off a mediocre offensive year where he posted a 96 wRC+ and saw the power he showed last year essentially cut in half or with an external option. The problem with going outside the organization is that this year's free agent shortstop class is pretty bad. Tim Anderson is a free agent and is still a strong defender, but he is coming off the worst season of his career at the plate with a 60 wRC+ and has a bit of a reputation as a headache in the clubhouse.
In the end, Jeremy Pena gets the nod for a couple reasons. While putting Pena at the eight spot does break up the alternating handedness plan, he does have offensive upside that he showed in the big leagues in 2022 while being a strong defensive player. In short, he is the best option available without going full fantasy baseball and making up trades for guys that are definitely not going to be actually available.