Jeremy Pena had a strong rookie campaign for the Houston Astros.
Placed in the unenviable position of attempting to replace Carlos Correa, he exceeded expectations. Pena posted a solid .253/.289/.426 batting line with 22 homers and 20 doubles in 558 plate appearances, stealing 11 bases. Most years, that would be enough to warrant significant consideration for the Rookie of the Year award.
Jeremy Pena likely content with Houston Astros season instead of RoY
That was not the case this year. Pena faced an impressive crop of rookies, finishing a distant fifth in the voting. Julio Rodriguez easily ran away with the award, with Adley Rutschman, Steven Kwan, and Bobby Witt Jr. completing the top five.
It would be understandable if Pena was not overly upset at the results. He was able to fill up his trophy case anyway, taking home the American League Gold Glove award at short. Pena also had an incredible postseason as he was named the ALCS and World Series MVP for his efforts to bring a second championship to Houston. Defeating Rodriguez and the Mariners along the way made it even better.
Winning the AL Rookie of the Year award certainly would have been a nice accomplishment, a testimony to a strong freshman season. But there are some things more important than individual accomplishments. In this case, that championship, and getting rid of the stigma of the 2017 title, easily outweighs that award.
At just 25 years old, Pena is likely to continue to add to his trophy case. He should continue to improve as he approaches his prime while a strong Astros lineup will give him plenty of chances to put up solid numbers. As the Astros do not appear to be going anywhere any time soon, Pena could continue to add to his trophy case and already impressive resume.
Julio Rodriguez may have won the AL Rookie of the Year, but Jeremy Pena and the Houston Astros won the World Series. He has the last laugh.