Carlos Correa felt like the difference-maker for the Astros. When the 2012 first overall pick arrived in the majors in 2015, the team’s fortunes seemed to change overnight. He soon was leading a standout group of up-and-coming stars to join Jose Altuve and the downtrodden Astros.
In 2022, Correa was gone and Houston was left to wonder how the future of the team’s shortstop position would look. The reins would be handed to Jeremy Peña, a far less heralded rookie, who was the team’s No. 4-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline in 2021.
Fast forward to Nov. 5, and it’s safe to say Astros fans feel confident about the heir to Correa. Peña was a spark throughout the postseason, but he stepped up his game even more in the World Series. Not long after Kyle Tucker squeezed the final out of the Astros’ second World Series title, Peña was named World Series MVP, becoming just the third rookie in MLB history to win the honor.
“I mean, shout out to these guys,” Peña said. “These guys got me within myself with all their preparation every single day and individual awards and cool and all, but that’s the trophy (Commissioner’s Trophy) we want right there.”
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What did Peña do to warrant the honor?
Let’s start with consistency. Peña had at least one hit in each of the six World Series games. Not even the Phillies, as a team, can lay claim to that.
Then there’s what his hits meant. Peña hit a double in the first game and scored on a Kyle Tucker home run. In Game 2, he opened the scoring with a double to drive in Jose Altuve and and later scored on a Yordan Alvarez double. He had one of Houston’s five hits in a 7-0 blowout loss in Game 3.
Over the final three games, he found another level. He had his first World Series multi-hit game in Game 4 and scored the third run of the game. In Game 5, he had three hits, beginning with an RBI single to open the scoring in the first. In the fourth inning, he became the first rookie shortstop to hit a home run in the World Series, driving in what proved to be the game-winning run in the 3-2 victory.
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And on Saturday, in the clinching Game 6, he singled with a runner on first to extend Houston’s sixth inning. He scored, with Jose Altuve, on Alvarez’s go-ahead three-run home run.
After the Commissioner’s Trophy was handed to Astros owner Jim Crane, Peña was handed the World Series MVP trophy, making him the third rookie in MLB history to win World Series MVP, joining Larry Sherry (1959, Dodgers) and Livan Hernandez (1997, Marlins). He joined Hernandez as the only rookies to win both LCS and World Series MVPs in the same season. He is the only rookie position player to win the award.
Peña has racked up plenty of accolades in his first MLB season. He was the first rookie shortstop to win a Gold Glove. He was named ALCS MVP and then World Series MVP. As far as stepping up to replace a departed star, Peña clearly handled that pressure.