When the Houston Astros did not re-sign their star shortstop Carlos Correa during the 2021 offseason, speculation began to spread about who would fill the hole. Correa will be a free agent yet again after opting out of his contract with the Twins. The Astros, however, will most certainly not be interested after the emergence of a young player who appears to be a long-term fixture. Collectors have certainly noticed, too. Jeremy Pena rookie cards and prospect issues have been generating a buzz. Searches for ‘Jeremy Pena’ on eBay increased nearly 350% during his 2022 AL Division Series performances.
Pena was born in the Dominican Republic but moved to Rhode Island with his family at age 9. His father is former big leaguer Geronimo Pena, who played with St. Louis and Cleveland from 1990-1996.
The Atlanta Braves selected Pena in the 39th round of the 2015 MLB draft but he opted to go to college at the University of Maine. In the 2018 draft, he was the Astros’ third round pick.
Prior to the start of the 2022 season, CBS Sports ranked Pena 33rd on their top 50 prospects but it was what he did in the off-season that helped him reach the majors with relatively little minor league experience. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi wrote that Pena attributed a lot of his success to having played Dominican Winter League ball each of the last two seasons.
“These guys have taken me in since the first day,” Peña said of his Astros teammates. “I’ve learned so much from them. They show up, put the work in, go out and compete and do it again the next day. I gravitate towards that. That’s what I try to do. Just try to keep improving, just keep playing hard.”
Pena Rookie Cards and Prospects
It’s no secret that once the news of the Astros cheating scandal broke a few years ago, cards of almost anyone on their team took a dive. As players like Pena, who were not associated with the scandal plagued seasons make their way to the big leagues, collectors are slowly beginning to be okay with buying cards of young Astros like Pena.
Here’s a sampling of five Jeremy Pena prospect and rookie cards to consider.
#5 – 2022 Panini Prizm Base Rookie (#17)
Despite making the Astros opening day roster, Pena does not have that many rookie cards to pick from. His Prizm card is the only chromium type rookie card of his that’s currently available. Without an MLB license, Panini baseball cards are usually considered a notch below their Topps counterparts. Regardless, the parallel rainbow is vast for 2022 Prizm baseball and all the colors absolutely pop. Pena doesn’t have any autographs in the set, but collecting parallels like the hotbox exclusive Navy Blue-Carolina Blue and the Donut Circles parallels in Quick Pitch boxes will keep you busy.
His base Prizm rookie is currently available for $2 to $6, but his low-numbered parallels have sold quite well. A First Off The Line exclusive Silver Shimmer /7 netted $135 and a Navy Blue Kaleidoscope /35 sold for $90.
#4 – 2020 Bowman Sterling Prospect Autograph (#BSPA-JP)
Much like his rookie cards, Pena also doesn’t have a ton of autographs available. Sterling is often an affordable option that has a ton of prospects. It will almost never feature a player’s first prospect autograph, as those are typically saved for Bowman, Bowman Draft and Bowman Chrome, but it’s a cheaper alternative to collect some pre-rookie autographs.
There are nine Pena parallels to collect aside from the base version in 2020 Sterling, ranging from the Base Refractor auto /150 to the 1/1 SuperFractor. Pena’s Bowman Sterling cards may be picking up some steam on eBay thanks to his stellar 2022 postseason, but most can still be had for a relatively modest investment. A PSA 10 graded Blue Refractor Auto /25 recently sold for around $400.
#3 – 2022 Topps Archives 1987 Base (#280)
2022 Topps Archives celebrates the lineage of Topps over the years by highlighting some standout card designs. The Pena rookie card in the set features the 1987 Topps set design. The simplistic wood-like border of this set has always been a fan favorite of Topps collectors. Pena does not have autographs in 2022 Archives, though he does have a 1992 design rookie as well.
The base rookie card only goes for a few dollars, but the parallels could fetch some big bucks. Foils include a Rainbow Foil /150, Red Hot Foil /50, Blue Foil /25 (Hobby Exclusive), Orange Hot Foil /15 (Hobby Exclusive) and a 1/1 FoilFractor. There are also non-foil parallels, a Green /125, Silver /99 and Red /75.
#2 – 2022 Topps Now Rookie Auto (#1084A)
Calling this a currently available card may be a stretch, but its Pena’s first true rookie auto that’s been “released.” This Topps Now card was available on their website between October 16 and 17 and showcases his 18th inning homerun that lifted the Astros to an ALCS series victory against the Mariners. The base autos /99 sold for $99.99 while the 1/1 was $999.99.
Collectors will have to wait 4-5 months according to Topps for them to actually ship, as is standard with other Topps Now autograph releases. Still, it has not stopped some lucky few from pre-selling them on eBay. There are, of course, unsigned versions you can snare for just a few bucks.
#1 – 2020 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autograph (#CPAJP)
The 1st Bowman autograph will always be King, and Pena’s is no different. The 2020 Bowman checklist continues to churn out chase autographs like Pena. Adley Rutschman, Anthony Volpe, Bobby Witt Jr. and Jasson Dominguez are some of the other star-studded names on the checklist.
A 2020 Bowman Chrome Red Sapphire Auto /5 graded a PSA 10 sold for $4,550 in August. In October, an Orange Shimmer Auto /25 sold for $2,900. The standard version, of course, is much less costly. Pena’s autograph, unfortunately, is little more than a brief scribble.
Pena’s base cards from Bowman Chrome are very inexpensive.
Hottest Jeremy Pena Cards on eBay
You can check out a live look at the 50 most watched Jeremy Pena cards on eBay below and see all of his cards currently for sale and auction here.
About Brendan Cross
Brendan Cross is a freelance journalist with a degree from San Jose State. A lifelong sports fanatic, his love of cards really blossomed in 2012 with the first release of Panini Prizm. He’s been hooked ever since, and he loves writing about it.