Ranking the Astros Most Deserving of a Contract Extension

Houston Astros World Series Parade
Houston Astros World Series Parade / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Jeremy Pena
World Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros - Game Six / Bob Levey/GettyImages

3) Jeremy Peña

The Astros have already lost one franchise icon shortstop with a propensity for big playoff moments to free agency--it's time to ensure they don't one day lose a second.

Jeremy Peña by every account had a tremendous rookie season. He was a slightly above-average hitter, recording a .715 OPS and a 101 OPS+. Peña's glove was expected to be his biggest contribution, so anything positive he brought at the plate would be a bonus.

After the rookie ditched his pronounced leg-kick at the plate, he went from league average to top-15 hitter in the game, as explained brilliantly by Ari Alexander. After eliminating the leg-kick, Peña recorded an .862 OPS to close out the regular season, which he famously followed up by winning ALCS and World Series MVP.

In particular, Peña raked from the 2-hole, posting a .290 batting average and .837 OPS when protected by Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez in the lineup. The 'Stros finished 53-9 in the regular season and postseason when Peña batted second.

Aside from his offensive contributions, his glove work was as good as advertised. The rookie took home the Gold Glove, after finishing the season in the 92nd percentile in outs above average and recording 15 defensive runs saved.

As an added bonus, Peña finished in the 95th percentile in sprint speed and swiped 11 bags in 13 tries.

Does the rookie ever again reach the heights he just did this postseason? It's too early to tell. But the Astros have a young shortstop they can pencil in for Gold Glove caliber defense, 10-15 stolen bases, 20 home runs and at least a league average OPS.

If his late season adjustment and October success carry over and he sustains excellence at the plate, the Astros again have a generational talent at the shortstop position--one that has proven an ability to rise up for the biggest of moments.

Either way, MV-Peña is well worth locking up for the long haul.