Key adjustment for Jeremy Peña has him poised for big bounce back with Astros?

Jeremy Peña revealed a big surprise when he took live batting practice down at spring training.
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Two
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Two / Bob Levey/GettyImages

While the 2023 season can largely be seen as a success for the Houston Astros overall, there were some guys who underperformed expectations last season. The biggest example is probably Jose Abreu as he battled injuries all season long on his way to an 86 wRC+ season at the plate. However, another player that didn't exactly light the world on fire at the plate in 2023 was shortstop Jeremy Peña.

Coming off a rookie season where he cracked 22 home runs and put up 3.4 fWAR, expectations were high for Peña heading into last season. While he was still an excellent defender in 2023, Peña's power production instead was cut in half as he seemed very focused on increasing the quality of his plate appearances and getting on base more.

One issue that Peña has always had is that his swing is, for lack of a better term, very noisy with a lot of moving parts, and he has a bat wiggle that can impact his timing especially against high velocity. The end result has been a guy that has plenty of raw power, but whose swing isn't geared to elevate or impact the ball consistently.

Fortunately, both the Astros and Peña appear to have a plan in place to get more out of him at the plate. Peña debuted a very different batting stance and swing down at spring training this year.

Jeremy Peña's new swing could be a huge win for the Astros going forward

The early reviews of Peña's new swing have been overwhelmingly positive with Astros coaches and players all loving where he is right now. There is certainly going to be an adjustment period when making such a change. He'll have to cut back on dancing around the box and continue resting his bat on his shoulder more to limit his bat wiggle in order to make the swing more efficient.

Getting Peña's swing to this point has required an offseason of hard work, but in theory should allow him to tap into his strength more and make hard contact consistently. When asked about his own evaluation of how his new swing felt after taking live BP, Peña seemed encouraged.

“It felt good. It felt calm, felt under control and that’s the whole goal behind this — to start from a position where I feel comfortable and build off of that."

Ultimately, the thing that matters the most is how Peña looks in actual games. However, he seems committed to making this change, and with the spring training schedule coming up fast, Houston fans will know soon enough if Peña's adjustments will generate results right away or if it will take more time for them to bear fruit.

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