Jeremy Joan Pena was originally drafted by the Braves in the thirty-ninth round of the 2015 draft but ultimately decided to play for the University of Maine. In his three seasons as a Black Bear, Pena combined to hit .308/.369/.442, leading the team in slugging percentage his sophomore year. His development in college improved his draft stock significantly and he was selected in the third round by the Astros in the 2018 June Amateur Draft. In two seasons in Houston’s farm system, the son of former major leaguer Geronimo Pena has shown that he can be solid at the plate but his true value is in his defense. Baseball America predicts that the second generation ball player will become a solid defensive contributor, even if his plate skills are lacking. The ‘Stros shouldn’t have to worry about that too much yet though, across Single and High A Pena hit .303/.385/.440 in 2019. That kind of production would reportedly be more than enough to justify his presence on the major league level.
The collecting world usually doesn’t show the same love to defensive specialists as it does for players that rake but Jeremy Pena seems to the exception. Since the end of the 2020 season Pena’s 2020 Bowman autograph card has surged like no other player. The final player included on Baseball Prospectus 2020 preseason top one hundred list, the Dominican saw twenty-fives sales of his first Bowman Chrome autograph card in October. That number predictably declined in the first month of the offseason but then shot back up in the month of December. Sales of the Astros number four overall prospect more than doubled during the holiday season, rivaling the sales total of much more heralded prospects such as Jasson Dominguez and Bobby Witt Jr. The increased demand for the middle infielder has not been reflected in his card prices however. The average of the ten most recent sales is only $19.50 and it wasn’t until the end of December that his cards began regularly topping $20. It is possible that it is the low prices that are driving the sales boom. The allure of getting a team’s a top five prospect for less than a twenty dollar bill is strong. At such a low average price, adding Pena to your collection looks like a decent low risk option right now.
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