Over the weekend, the Pittsburgh Pirates swung a multi-player trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Let’s take a look a the Bucs new infield prospect.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks completed a long-awaited trade this past weekend. The Bucs sent outfielder Starling Marte and $1.5 million to the D’backs in exchange for two prospects and International Bonus Allotment. Coming back to the Pittsburgh Pirates are a couple of 19-year-old prospects by the names of Brennan Malone and Liover Peguero. Malone is a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher and Peguero is high upside shortstop.
The other day we took a look at Brennan Malone and what he will bring to the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system. What about Liover Peguero? Peguero very well could be the x-factor of this trade. He has big-time upside and could potentially be a five-tool player at the Major League level. Also, anytime a team acquires a highly athletic shortstop, there is reason to be excited about their potential.
Peguero entered last season as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ number 18 overall prospect. At just 18 years of age, this was a bold ranking for the young middle infielder. He proved that he deserved to be ranked in the top 20 and even higher than number 18. The 6’1” shortstop was one of the best hitters in the lower minors last year tearing up Rookie-level ball and posting solid numbers at Short-Season A ball (college-level players). He now ranks as the Pittsburgh Pirates seventh best prospect according to MLB Pipeline’s updated 2019 list.
All in all, Peguero posted an impressive slash line of .326/.382/.485 in his 60 games across the two levels. Obviously all three of those numbers are really good and suggest that he definitely has the ability to be a good, all-around hitter. He hit five home runs, five triples, and 11 doubles giving him a total of 21 extra-base hits. His ISO sat at .159, showing that he has some raw power and he had a positive wRC+ of 134 (league average is centered around 100).
What was even better to see was his discipline at the plate. Often times young, athletic players can be plagued by being impatient with the bat in their hands which can lead to a lot of strikeouts and unproductive at-bats. Obviously, he had a lot of productive at-bats based on his slash line, but he also only struck out 51 times while he took 20 bases on balls in his 60 games last season. The fact that he is walking close to 10 percent of at-bats and striking out only around 20 percent shows that he has an advanced offensive approach for being just a teenager.
Peguero is not just a threat at the plate but also as a runner and in the field. He stole 11 bases last season and only got thrown out two times. Also, as mentioned earlier he had five triples showing the ability to stretch a gap shot. On defense, he is a more than capable defender at shortstop and is projected to stay at the position. Here is a write up from MLB Pipeline on Peguero’s defensive future:
"“The D-backs believed Peguero was a pure shortstop and he made huge strides defensively with the actions, hands and arm strength needed to stick at the position long term. While his remaining physical projection could lead to a move off of the position down the road, Peguero’s bat could enable him to profile at a host of positions on the diamond. For now, though, he’ll be given every opportunity to stick up the middle.”"
Liover Peguero is a 19-year-old prospect who is far away from making an impact for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Still, he is easily the team’s best shortstop prospect, especially considering that he will likely stay at the position. Even if he had to move, he will project as an above-average fielder because of his athleticism.
Of course, what will matter most is how much he hits going forward. Hopefully, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ new regime is able to continue and tap into his offensive upside and he continues to trend upward as a prospect. If he can continue his success from 2019, then there should be a good chance that he will rate as a top 100 Prospect in 2021.