Houston Astros 2022 Shortstop Options

Astros 2022 shortstop
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Despite falling short in the 2021 World Series, the Houston Astros have a lot to look forward to in the coming years. Fortunately, Houston has a very strong core of players that is remaining intact heading into the 2022 season. One of the places that is likely going to look quite different is the shortstop position. With Carlos Correa probably leaving in free agency, Houston must determine who will play short next year. From players within the organization to guys on the free agent market, these are a few Astros 2022 shortstop options.

Minor League Options

Possibly the best option in Houston’s minor league system is Jeremy Pena. Pena is the second-ranked Astros prospect, according to Baseball America. The 24-year-old was limited to 37 games in 2021 due to a wrist injury, but when he was on the field, he made an impact. In 30 AAA games, the shortstop hit ten home runs and hit .287. Across three minor league seasons, Pena is slashing .291/.371/.444 with 29 stolen bases. He has also shown a lot of promise defensively, having won the Gold Glove at shortstop in the Dominican Winter League two years in a row.

Another minor league option is Pedro Leon. Baseball America has Leon as the fourth-ranked Astros prospect. The 23-year-old only has one minor league season under his belt and it wasn’t especially impressive. In 72 games across three levels, Leon slashed .220/.339/.369. However, with strong tools and a history of success in the Cuban League, the Astros hope he can make a quick rise to the major league level. Leon may need a little more seasoning in the minors, but it is a real possibility that he finds his way to the big leagues in 2022.

Major League Options

The Astros also have a couple of 2022 shortstop options that are already on their major league roster. The first of these options is Aledmys Diaz. Diaz has been an All-Star as a shortstop before and he has been pretty successful as a part time player over the past three seasons with the Astros. With well over 2,000 innings at short in his career, the 31-year-old would be a very experienced option. While not the hitter that Correa is, Diaz is no slouch with the bat. Across six seasons at the major league level, Diaz has a .271/.325/.450 slashline.

The other option is less conventional, but Alex Bregman has some experience as a shortstop in his baseball career. At the major league level, Bregman has played almost 1,000 innings at short. He played shortstop at LSU before being drafted and eventually moved to third, where he currently resides.

Free Agent Options

On the expensive side, Trevor Story is the best shortstop available who is not Correa. Story can do a little bit of everything on the diamond. A true power-speed threat, Story is coming off his third season in which he had at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases. Across six seasons, the 29 year old is slashing .272/.340/.523 and he has won two Silver Sluggers. On the defensive side, he has 10.6 defensive WAR in his career, according to Baseball Reference. Story is likely looking for a large, multi-year contract. If the Astros are trying to avoid a large contract like that, there is another quality option on the market.

If Houston wants a cheap, one-year stopgap to allow their promising prospects to develop a little more in the minors, Andrelton Simmons can be their guy. Defensively, Simmons is one of the best. The 32-year-old has won four Gold Gloves and a Platinum Glove at short. He is the active career leader is Total Zone Runs Above Average (Rtot) as a shortstop, with 124. His 28.1 defensive WAR ranks first among active players and 13th all time, according to Baseball Reference. As far as old school statistics go, his .981 fielding percentage is third among active players and tenth all time. While is career .683 OPS isn’t very impressive, his offensive profile fits the Astros. His 9.7 at-bats between strikeouts is the best number among active players. Houston had the second fewest strikeouts in the AL in 2021 and so from that perspective, Simmons would fit right in.

It is really difficult to replace a player like Correa. His presence both in the clubhouse and on the field was very important for Houston during their recent run of success. However, the Astros have plenty of 2022 shortstop options at their disposal.

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Players mentioned:

Carlos Correa, Jeremy Pena, Pedro Leon, Aledmys Diaz, Alex Bregman, Trevor Story, Andrelton Simmons