Until the All-Star break, Jeremy Peña was headed toward a showdown with Julio Rodriguez for the MLS Rookie of the Year title.
While Peña was of high pedigree, it was never meant to be this way. Rodríguez was the third-placed Major in Major League Baseball in 2022, and Peña didn’t even top the top 100 – even though he’s ranked well before America baseball And the baseball flyer.
By July 5, Peña was cutting .276/.327/.482 while Rodriguez was cutting .274/.336/.487. They both play great defense in excellent positions, but Peña is clearly the most accomplished defender.
But since that date, the Houston Astros’ short hiatus has faltered, and he’s had a ROP of 0.547 in his last 95 appearances.
However, Pena almost caught up with the Seattle Mariners’ up-and-coming rookie in terms of value. Despite having a differential of 27 in the OPS+, Rodriguez edges out Peña by 0.7 in wins over replacement.
However, WAR is a terrible evaluator of talent on a small sample size, but in this case it shows that the players’ overall mergers are still fairly close.
How can that be when crime is the deciding factor in a players’ game?
Not that Peña simply plays a more valuable position, he does everything well on the baseball field.
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Among his short stopping points, Peña is in elite company among the defensive players in the MLS. Only Jorge Matteo had more hits above average, while only Andrew Velasquez and Matteo had more defensive hits saved.
We all know Peña is an elite defensive player, but he’s also one of the fastest players in baseball. At 29.3 feet/sec, he ranks 95th among all major league baseball players.
This means that Pena’s floor, as a minor player, is very high. If his hit drops below average, he’ll still be a valuable player. Perhaps no novice has a higher floor than Julio Rodriguez, of course.
It’s a pity that they both debuted at the same time in the same division, as Rodriguez either matches, or barely beats Peña in just about every category. For most of 2022, Peña has lived in Rodriguez’s shadow, which is fair considering what the 21-year-old midfielder has done this year.
Not competing in the home derby, Peña is not the face of a rising young franchise that has led his team to the post-season berth for the first time in two decades.
Peña was never supposed to compete with Rodriguez, just as the Mariners were never meant to compete with the Astros, as evidenced by Houston’s 11th game under the leadership of Al West.
Rodríguez might win the Rookie of the Year and lead his team to a playoff, but Peña has a higher chance of bringing home the ultimate prize, the world title.
More from SI’s Inside The Astros:
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- The Astros have announced the Best Junior League Players of the Month for July
- Altuve receives the 2022 Heart and Hustle Award for the Astros
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- Astros add Lefty Smith, but what does he bring to the Bullpen?
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- Vazquez is a strong addition behind the board for the Astros
- Estimating Deadline Coefficients for Astros MLB Transactions
- The Astros’ McCullers hit an outside five in the third rehab
- Astros attack remains subdued in match 2 with the Red Sox
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