Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting the Team’s 2023 Line Up

BRADENTON, FL- FEBRUARY 22: Oneil Cruz #61 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws during a game against the Minnesota Twins on February 21, 2020 at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FL- FEBRUARY 22: Oneil Cruz #61 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws during a game against the Minnesota Twins on February 21, 2020 at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 07: The PNC Park scoreboard is shown with an updated Pittsburgh Pirates logo encouraging the wearing of masks during summer workouts at PNC Park on July 7, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 07: The PNC Park scoreboard is shown with an updated Pittsburgh Pirates logo encouraging the wearing of masks during summer workouts at PNC Park on July 7, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Shortstop: Liover Peguero

2023 Opening Day Age: 22

It’s really, really hard to predict who’s going to be the Pirates’ starting shortstop, even just a year from now. Currently, Cole Tucker should be the team’s starting shortstop by the end of 2020, but that could also still be Kevin Newman after his notable 2019 rookie campaign. However, that still leaves in question Ji-Hwan Bae. But for now, I think Liover Peguero is a safe bet to eventually be a starting cog for the team sometime in 2023.

Peguero was the centerpiece in the Starling Marte deal, and currently ranks as the 103rd best prospect by FanGraphs, and the team’s 6th best prospect. He’ll likely be a top 90 prospect by the end of the season once prospects like Luis Robert, Jesus Luzardo, Nate Pearson, Sean Murphy, and a handful of others graduate prospect status.

Peguero did really well for himself with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Rookie-ball affiliate. Through 156 plate appearances, Peguero was hitting .364/.410/.559 with five home runs, seven doubles and three triples. While his walk (7.7%) and strikeout (21.3%) rates weren’t necessarily fantastic, remember he was still just 18 and posted a 153 wRC+.

When the D-Backs moved him to Low-A ball, Peguero only hit .262/.333/.357 with four doubles, two triples, and no home runs. However, he did see improvements to his plate discipline as his strikeout rate fell to 18.3% and walk rate jumped to 8.6%. Remember though, his Low-A numbers came in just 93 plate appearances.

Still, Peugero has a 60 future hit grade, but power tools identical to Hayes. A 40 future game power and 50 future raw power grade. He still has a 90 average exit velocity, so he’ll be able to drive the gap with some authority. He’s also a plus runner with a 60 current/55 future speed grade. Fielding wise, he grades as an above average shortstop, ranking with future 55 grades for his arm and fielding skill. While he isn’t a top 100 prospect, that could change very soon as he still ranks just outside the top 100 at 103. A handful of prospects are getting regular reps at the major league level, so he’ll probably be in the top 95 by the end of the year.

Other possible options: Ji-Hwan Bae, Kevin Newman, Cole Tucker