Photos: Sugar Land Space Cowboys, Maine Athletics
WEYMOUTH, Mass. (April 22, 2022) -- For the second consecutive April, it didn’t take long for the Futures League’s list of alumni to reach Major League Baseball (MLB) to grow at the outset of the 2022 season.
Shortstop Jeremy Pena debuted in “The Show” by breaking spring camp with the Houston Astros. Pena is the seventh Futures League alum to reach the MLB level, all over the last four-plus seasons dating back to 2018.
Pena, who is the top prospect in the Astros organization according to MLBPipeline.com, made Houston’s Opening Day roster and debuted as the starting shortstop on Apr. 7 against Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels. He hit his first MLB home run as part of a three-hit effort the following night.
Pena’s success has continued as he hit .308 with two homers, three doubles, a triple and four RBI in his first 11 games. His team-leading .953 OPS ranked seventh in the American League and second among shortstops during that span. No Astro had previously recorded three, three-hit games in his first eight games with the team since 1968.
Pena is the second former Titan to make his MLB debut. The first was Tyler Bashlor, a 2012 Torrington pitcher who became the first Futures League alum to play at the highest level with the New York Mets in 2018.
Flashing back to his time in the Futures League as a rising University of Maine freshman, Pena recorded five extra-base hits, nine RBI, 13 runs scored and four stolen bases in 28 games for the Torrington Titans in 2015. He went on to a standout career at Maine -- earning America East All-Rookie and All-Conference honors -- and was drafted by Houston in the third round in 2018.
Pena and three other Futures League alums entered the season as the top college-produced prospects in their respective MLB organizations. Former Pittsfield Sun Cade Cavalli has reached Triple-A with the Washington Nationals, while Brockton Rox product Zack Gelof is getting his first taste of Double-A in the Oakland Athletics organization.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ top college prospect is former Boston College star Sal Frelick, who played in a handful of MLB spring training games and looks to rise from the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers this season. Frelick was the Futures League’s Top Pro Prospect in both 2018 and 2020.
Former Martha’s Vineyard Sharks and Boston College infielder/pitcher Donovan Casey could be the next Futures League alum to make his MLB debut. The member of the 2015 Martha’s Vineyard Sharks was recalled by Washington last week, but he didn’t appear in a game before returning to Triple-A Rochester.
For the latest Futures League news and information throughout the year, visit thefuturesleague.com and follow the league’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.