Jeremy Pena, Jose Altuve, and Hidden Value in the 2022 World Series MVP


Immediately after the Astros secured their 2022 World Series victory, Jeremy Pena was selected as the 2022 World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP). The young shortstop was certainly impressive, and his selection was not very surprising. But was he the most deserving player for the award?

My prior work that shows that Playoff MVPs are primarily selected for overall offensive performance and win probability added, not for their actual contributions to winning. Pena led the Astros in both OPS and WPS, indicating that his offensive performance was both prodigious and timely, so going by the selection criteria used in prior World Series, Pena’s selection was a forgone conclusion.

However, as has been argued here on this site, OPS and WPA are not the best statistics to use when measuring offensive value in a series, and the Offensive Shapley Win Credits (OSWC) metric more accurately captures offensive value as it pertains to helping your team win.

Using OSWC, we do in fact see that Pena was a key contributor to the series victory, but Jose Altuve was slightly more valuable. A closer look at their performance in the 2022 World Series shows how value can be hidden because it is not accurately captured by the usual statistics.

The 2022 World Series at a Glance

Table 1 provides a quick summary of key offensive statistics. As mentioned above, Pena’s standard numbers are impressive. His 1.023 OPS led all Astros by a good margin, as did his 0.30 WPA. He tied with Altuve for the most runs scored — perhaps not a surprise because Altuve and Pena batted 1-2 in each game of the series. Pena also recorded 3 RBI, which is fourth highest on the team for the series, a respectable number given his spot in the lineup, while Altuve did not record any RBI. Finally, Pena had the highest total run contribution in the series with 4.33 SRC.

Table 1: Houston Astros Offensive Statistics, 2022 World Series

However, Altuve edges Pena in OSWC, 0.85 to 0.83. In other words, Altuve’s offensive contributions were actually more valuable than Pena’s even though by the usual metrics Pena was more impressive than Altuve. How is this possible?

Hidden Value

Altuve’s OSWC is higher than Pena’s because OSWC account for value that is hidden from the standard statistics. Altuve and Pena had identical OSWC in games 4 and 5. In game 4, they were both batted in on the same double by Bregman, and in game 5, the two combined for a run-scoring coalition (Altuve double followed by Pena run-scoring single). They had identical run contributions across the two games even though WPA gives more total credit to Pena.

The key differences between the two players arises in games 2 and 6. A closer look at these two games shows how value can often be hidden in the box score statistics but captured in the OSWC calculation.

In game 6, they were each credited with 1 run and 0 RBI, but Pena actually outclassed Altuve in value. Altuve only scored because he reach base by fielder’s choice. According to the fairness principles that are embedded in the calculation of OSWC, Altuve is not given any credit for that run. The player made out via Altuve’s fielder’s choice, Martin Maldonado, is actually given a share of credit for that run instead of that credit going to Altuve. Pena, on the other hand, reached base via a single after Altuve’s fielder’s choice. They both then scored on a home run by Yordan Alvarez. Pena deserves more credit than Altuve for scoring and helping the team in this game. This fair assessment is reflected in Pena having 0.17 OSWC compared to Altuve’s 0 OSWC. Alvarez rightly deserves the larger OSWC for game 6.

Things are much different in game 2. Both Altuve and Pena had 1 R, but Pena also had 1 RBI to Altuve’s 0 RBI. This suggests that Pena helped the team more, but that conclusion would be wrong. In the first inning, Altuve doubled, then Pena doubled to score Altuve, and then Alvarez doubled to score Pena. On the surface, it appears that Pena was critical to both runs, but notice that Alvarez’s double would have also scored Altuve. That means that Pena deserves less credit for Altuve’s run than might be expected. Actually, they each receive 0.7 SRC indicating that a fair accounting gives neither player an edge in production in that inning.

But we find separation in the 7th inning. Altuve singled to lead off the inning, and after Pena’s strikeout, Altuve was forced out on Alvarez’s fielder’s choice, only for Alvarez to score on Bregman’s HR. But notice that Altuve would have scored if Alvarez had not forced him out. In fact, without Altuve’s single, there would have not been a second run scored on the HR because Alvarez would have grounded out. SRC appropriately credits Altuve with 0.5 SRC and Alvarez with 0 SRC in that inning even though the traditional statistics like R do not give Altuve any credit for his crucial role in that inning.

The hidden value for Altuve’s single that is reflected in SRC will play into the OSWC calculation, and ultimately the hidden value is revealed by the OSWC statistic when it fairly credits Altuve with a much higher OSWC of 0.30 to Pena’s 0.12 OSWC for game 2. Altuve’s contributions were more valuable to that victory, and when considering the series as a whole, this hidden value is enough to give Altuve a slight edge in Series OSWC over Pena.


One of the best things about baseball is that there are a variety of ways that teams can construct victories, and many of those ways are not measured adequately in the conventional statistics. The OSWC statistic, however, provides a way to get at some of the hidden value that players provide to their teams. When used to study the 2022 World Series, it reveals that Altuve had the edge in value over Pena. Although Pena was a very valuable player, he just wasn’t the most valuable offensive player.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.