Astros’ Jeremy Pena caps brilliant rookie season with World Series MVP

HOUSTON — Over the course of one amazing rookie season, Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena has moved beyond his spring training status as Carlos Correa‘s successor.

At this point, it might be more accurate to say that Correa, Houston’s longtime All-Star shortstop who departed via free agency this spring, is Pena’s predecessor.

Pena capped his amazing debut campaign Saturday by being named MVP of the World Series after the Astros clinched the title with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

“It has a lot to do with my family, my upbringing,” Pena said. “Shoutout to my teammates as well. They took me in since day one. They gave me the confidence to just go out and play my game.”

Pena, 25, went 2-for-4 with a run scored Saturday at the plate while continuing to flash the defense that made him the first-ever rookie shortstop to win a Gold Glove.

For the series, Pena hit .400, posted a 1.023 OPS and led all hitters with 10 hits and 15 total bases. Pena also smacked a go-ahead home run off Philadelphia’s Noah Syndergaard during Houston’s crucial 3-2 win in Game 5.

Pena, who was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, carried the flag of his homeland to the podium for his postgame news conference.

“Man, it’s special,” Pena said. “I can’t even put it into words right now, but shoutout to my Dominican people.”

According to Elias Sports Bureau, Pena’s OPS makes him just the fourth rookie to surpass 1.000 over a single World Series, minimum of 20 at-bats. He joins Pepper Martin, 1.330 (Cardinals, 1931); Andruw Jones, 1.250 (Braves, 1996); and Randy Arozarena, 1.234 (Rays, 2020).

During the regular season, Pena hit .253 with 22 homers, 63 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He enters the offseason as a top candidate for American League Rookie of the Year.

Pena becomes the first rookie position player to win World Series MVP and third rookie overall, joining Larry Sherry (1959) and Livan Hernandez (1997). Pena was also named MVP of the ALCS.

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