Jeremy Peña came into his first season with the Houston Astros with massive shoes to fill. The young shortstop was taking Carlos Correa’s place after the All-Star left to sign with the Minnesota Twins.
Having an understudy on the way can sometimes turn veteran athletes away. Correa, though, embraced the newcomer and worked with him. Peña said that Correa is a “superstar person” and that the former Astros star played a huge role in helping get ready for his first season in the big leagues, per Peter Gammons of The Athletic.
“I can’t play someone else’s game, I have to play mine,” Peña says. “I am who I am. But let me tell you something, I consider Carlos not only a superstar player, but a superstar person. When we were in spring training together, he helped me all the time. He showed me things, he told me to come talk about playing shortstop and dealing with big-league pressure. He never was worried about some kid shortstop (three years younger) coming to take his job. He knew I was just a minor leaguer hoping to play somewhere with him.”
Having a leader like Correa was huge for Houston. Although Minnesota is now the beneficiary of his leadership and talent, Peña is proving to be a valuable replacement. The 24-year-old has an OPS+ of 126 with five home runs, including a walk-off in the 10th inning, in 23 games.
The Astros are 13-11 so far and Peña has been one of their very best hitters. The future is extremely bright for him.