Jeremy Pena, 2022 Fantasy Outlook

And thus ends our 2022 fantasy baseball rookies series. Next up, sleepers. You can hardly wait! No, you! Hope you enjoyed our 2022 fantasy baseball rookies series. It was brought to you by me! And The Bachelorette. Kidding on the last part, but I’m obviously a huge Bachelorette fan now that one of our own was on the show. In case you missed it when I said something a month ago:

I have the show DVR’d and haven’t watched. From what I understand, there’s not much to watch as Tehol gets three minutes of airtime across three weeks, then is booted. Shame, because a bunch of people trying to find fake love sounds great to me. It’s what I do every year when I draft a fantasy team. Any hoo! There’s a few different types of fantasy baseball rookies. My goal is to give you all the types you’re going to encounter, except, let’s be honest, most of them are high upside bingo-bangos, and high upside bingo-bangos might be a year away from being high upside bingo-bangos. Then there’s just steady producers. Jeremy Pena might fit into both categories. How he could be a high upside bingo-bangos: Jeremy Pena just came off one of the hottest months of September in minor league baseball: 22/10/19/.287/5. That’s in 30 games. He was coming off wrist surgery, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue at all, right? Rhetorical! He hit three homers in one game, turned around and almost hit for the cycle in the next game. His 2020 was lost (with all minor leaguers), then he missed five months with the wrist, so it’s here where the bingo-bangoes become hard to account for. Is Jeremy as good as his September or he’s simply old for Triple-A and ripping it up? Here’s Jeremy Pena’s first and second homer during the three-homer game. Think about your takeaways, then I will give you mine:

So, what can we expect from Jeremy Pena for 2022 fantasy baseball?

My takeaway is he looks like a doubles hitter. Those look like minor league homers, and not major league homers. At 24, I don’t see him aging into more power either. He’s a late-bloomer. Not many players come out of Rhode Island, and even less from Maine. His dad, a major leaguer (Gerónimo), must’ve had a good idea where to send him to help him blossom slowly. That doesn’t mean Jeremy Pena won’t hit any home runs. Maybe 14 to 20 homers. That’s nothing to sneeze at, unless you’re allergic to a decent amount of power from a shortstop. Before this past year, 20 homers seemed like a decent output from Carlos Correa, and his career high is 26 homers. (By the way, it’s mind-blowing that Correa had the Crawford Boxes and couldn’t get above 26 homers in a season.) Speaking of which, Correa’s 2022 landing spot will play into Jeremy Pena’s 2022. If Correa re-signs with the Astros, then I’m really at loss with Pena. If the Astros were smart, which I think they are, they’d let Correa walk and let Pena play. Because, while it doesn’t affect our fantasy game, Pena is good with the glove.

Jeremy Pena is also — surprise, surprise — good at making contact. I say “surprise, surprise” sarcastically, because the Astros have proven to love contact hitters, and all their prospects coming up are in that mold. I said at one point this year, they’re building future prospects that all look like younger versions of Michael Brantley, and it’s true, the Mini Mikeys. Pena shouldn’t be much worse than a 22% strikeout rate guy, and could grow into much better. As you see with his inside-the-parker in the clip above, he also has speed. Not a burner, but decent 10-15 steal speed. So, like someone putting their skull skin back on after dining with Hannibal Lecter, to recap:  Opposite field homers would seem to be off the menu, some pull power though, speed is there and solid contact. If Correa is gonezo, then it’s hard not to imagine Jeremy Pena being a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper, because 550 ABs should be there immediately. Oh, and for those worried about Astros prospect, Pedro Leon, he seems more like a utility guy, and in the mold of Myles Straw. Call him Pedro Sippiecup. For 2022, I’ll give Jeremy Pena projections of 63/17/52/.266/12 in 509 ABs with the assumption Correa is gone. If Correa returns, then Jeremy Pena is undraftable in all leagues. In conclusion, I don’t think he’s a high upside bingo-bango, but more a steady producer. Think a young Jean Segura.

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