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Justin Verlander on Jeremy Peña replacing Carlos Correa in Houston

Jeremy Peña, Justin Verlander, Astros, Carlos Correa, MLB, MLB Rookies

Houston Astros’ up-and-coming rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña has been met with a lot of praise to this point in his young career. No praise may be higher than the praise he received from teammate and future Hall of Fame pitcher Justin Verlander on Friday. Verlander, while speaking with reporters in the Houston locker room, supported the idea that Peña is out to make a name for himself, and not to just be the replacement for former Astros shortstop Carlos Correa.

“It’s been incredible. I think he had the right mindset. It just seems like he’s very self-confident, but not in a cocky way. Just like ‘I’m not here to replace Correa, I’m here to be me’,” Verlander told reporters. “I’ve been very impressed with him.”

A glowing recommendation of Jeremy Peña from the Houston ace.

The 24-year-old Peña, who was a third-round pick for the Houston Astros back in 2018, debuted in early April. Since then, he’s sporting a .233 batting average with six home runs, 15 runs, 15 runs batted in, and an OBP of .302. Those stats are eerily similar to the numbers his predecessor Carlos Correa has put up for the Minnesota Twins this season.  Correa currently sits at a .255 batting average with two home runs, 12 runs, 11 runs batted in, and an OBP of .320 in eight more at-bats.

Although comparisons between the two are inevitable, Jeremy Peña is fine not trying to “replace” Carlos Correa, who was the figurehead of the Astros rise to prominence during the 2010s.

“The team just told me to be myself,” he said. “That was the plan from the jump. I never saw it like I’m filling Carlos Correa’s shoes. I’m just going to go out to play my game and get better.”