In today’s minor league profile, we will take a look at a young Pittsburgh Pirates prospect in shortstop Liover Peguero of the Dominican Republic
The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Liover Peguero via trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Starling Marte back in January. Peguero is a highly-touted prospect out of the Dominican Republic and has shown unbelievable flashes of stardom. According to Eric Logenhagen, Peguero draws comparisons to Jean Segura and with good reason. Both Peguero and Segura have similar builds and have lightning fast reflexes with their bat in the zone.
The young Dominican is currently ranked sixth in the Pirates system and 98th overall in baseball according to FanGraphs. His offensive ceiling is very high with the potential to be an above-average power hitter for his shortstop position. Still, at the age of 19, Peguero is not done filling out. So his 160-pound frame could bulk up, which shouldn’t hurt his defensive abilities as he is an exceptional athlete with a 60-grade speed.
In 2019 Peguero was placed in the Diamondbacks rookie ball team in Missoula, where he performed exceptionally. His slash line was impressive with .364/.410/.559, and the advanced analytics showed even better numbers with a wOBA of .423 in 156 plate appearances. When you compare that to Jean Segura’s last year in rookie ball they had similar numbers with Segura having a .367/.367/.600 slash line.
Later on in 2019, Peguero was promoted to the Hillsboro Hops, a Low-A affiliate where his numbers dipped quite a bit. His slash line was at .262/.333/.357 to go along with dips his wOBA dropped to a .329, and his wRC+ was one point above the average with 101. When you look at these stats you might be alarmed, but, take this with a grain of salt, he only had 93 plate appearances. 93 plate appearances is not nearly enough to get a whole picture on a prospect’s progress.
Peguero finds himself in an awkward situation with the Pirates playing a position that is extremely backlogged. With Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker being the next obvious choices in the middle infield and highly touted prospect Oneil Cruz close to reaching the Triple-A level, many Pirates fans questioned the acquisition of Peguero.
If you ask me, I love the pickup you add an athletic infielder with a very high ceiling and who knows Tucker might be traded before his arbitration year in 2022, which oddly enough is around the time FanGraphs projects Peguero’s MLB call up date. Additionally, Cruz will likely end up at a different position or as the designated hitter when it comes to the National League. Also, you always want to add the most talent possible in trades. That’s what the Pirates did when they acquired Peguero, along with pitcher Brennan Malone, from the Diamondbacks.