Will the real Jeremy Pena stand up?

Troy Taormina – USA TODAY Sports

Back in April, 23 of our writers and contributors made predictions About the 2022 season. When guessing who AL Rookie of the Year will be, nine different players are named, with Bobby Witt Jr. And the Julius Rodriguez drive a pack. None of those nine names finds a short starting point for the Astros, a rookie who has faced the difficult task of replacing the incumbent. Carlos Correawho went to the twins. Jeremy Rock He wasn’t linked as the ROY frontrunner, but for most of the first season, he looked like a surprising superstar. However, he has struggled offensively in recent months, raising some questions about whether the real Peña is the player who has had .878 OPS through mid-May, or who has had .586 OPS since the All-Star Game, or somewhere in between.

Top juniors during May 17

Back in May, Witt, a pre-season favorite, wasn’t among the top fifteen; Rodríguez rolled out only 0.544 OPS during the month of April; And the Madeleine Rochman He was days away from making his debut in the majors. While Peña wasn’t actually making Astros fans forget About Correa, he certainly did his best to alleviate any lingering concerns about the former franchise building block heading to AL Central. But since May 17, he’s seen his dominance of the AL leaderboard disappear:

Best juniors since May 17

Noun AVG OBP SLG wRC + k/9 BB / 9 HR / 9 era FIP war
Julius Rodriguez .285 .347 .544 156 4.0
Madeleine Rochman .251 .358 .442 131 4.0
Stephen Kwan .293 .366 .379 117 2.4
Joseph Miranda .301 .358 .484 143 2.3
George Kirby 9.5 1.2 1.1 3.19 3.08 2.3
Bobby Witt Jr. .261 304 .465 112 2.2
Oscar Gonzalez .291 .326 .464 122 1.5
Red Detmers 9.9 3.8 1.0 3.44 3.76 1.4
John Doran 11.2 2.2 0.4 1.17 2.05 1.4
Felix the Baptist 12.3 2.2 0.8 1.17 2.29 1.4
Jeremy Rock .241 .267 .374 80 1.2
Joseph Siri .211 .261 .326 69 1.0
Vinnie Pasquantino .261 .353 .433 123 0.9
Kyle Isble .211 .266 .347 70 0.8
Brian Bello 8.7 4.8 0.0 5.79 2.96 0.8

That’s not to say Peña hasn’t continued to be a strong player overall, but his biggest contributions in recent months have been with leather rather than wood. With his range measured five runs above average on a short stop by Statcast’s RAA and a total of nine runs on all sides of defense by our estimation, he didn’t disappoint defensively, enabling him to remain a legitimate player even as his attacking drops to low levels. Disappointing. But he’s a much more exciting player because of his spring offensive, so what went wrong there?

First things first, the disappearance of power was real, and it was backed up by the batting data. After kicking off his first 100 balls, Peña had an average exit speed of 92.2 mph. Since then, it’s been down steadily, with average rolls dropping below 85 mph recently. If you have the feeling that he is in contact with less authority, you are right.

Peña’s discipline is the most obvious weak point in his offensive game, walking 19 times for 120 hits at the moment. Free prostitutes are not condemned to struggle – Javier Baez He’s had some great seasons of strength with terrible discipline for the board – but there’s a fine line, and when you don’t punish mistakes well, you don’t pay off with ups and downs. It makes contact often enough to make ineffective contact more often, resulting in softer hits for the ground balls. And he no longer punishes fouls to the same degree, swinging on the worst and worst pitches; In his last 40 games, he was 50% more likely to swing on bad ground than his first 40. It’s no coincidence, that those first 40 games coincide almost exactly with his high-water climax on May 17th.

Unfortunately, Peña offers a cautionary reminder about the interaction between board discipline and authority.

Is there a hope? Well, the good news is that even with his struggles and a full version of ZiPS aware of the extent of plate discipline issues, his outlook is long-term. resident Better than they were at the start of the season. ZiPS had originally projected it at 1.7 WAR for the 2022 season, with tops in the 2.5 range (the pre-season projection can still be seen on the player page). The fact that we can be more confident about the quality of his defense raises the baseline considerably; ZiPS thought he was a defensive player +5.8 runs/150 last year when his wrist wasn’t injured, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty. While his racket recently disappeared, the fact that he showed it Can Hit the ball very hard and he Can Being more disciplined than the player he has been in recent months is also helpful.

ZiPS Show – Jeremy Rock

year BA OBP SLG AB s h 2B 3 b HR RBI BB So SB OPS + Dr war
2023 .252 .319 .414 469 53 118 16 3 18 53 40 131 10 96 7 3.0
2024 .251 .320 .425 454 53 114 16 3 19 55 40 132 9 100 7 3.1
2025 .248 .321 .430 451 53 112 16 3 20 55 42 136 9 101 7 3.2
2026 .245 .318 .430 444 53 109 16 3 20 55 41 135 9 100 6 3.0
2027 .248 .320 .431 432 51 107 16 3 19 53 40 126 8 101 6 2.9
2028 .251 .322 .437 419 50 105 15th 3 19 53 38 117 7 103 5 2.9
2029 .248 .318 .419 403 46 100 14 2 17 48 36 109 6 98 4 2.4

Overall, it has been a productive year for Peña, despite its low numbers. He’s kept healthy, he’s proven to be a valuable defensive player, and he’s shown that, at times, he can do a lot with his racket. Whether he takes the next step depends on whether he can do a more effective job of mitigating the things he can’t do.