Pittsburgh Pirates: Examining Liover Peguero’s Potential


The Pittsburgh Pirates traded for middle infield prospect Liover Peguero last off season, but what could be in his future?

Last offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates traded long time outfielder Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks for two players. One was 2019 first-round pick Brennan Malone. The other was shortstop Liover Peguero. Peguero could be in the Majors in as soon as 2022, so what could be in his future?

Peguero was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2017 when he was just 16-years-old. Peguero made his pro debut in 2018 when he was still jsut 17. He only hit .259/.311/.340 across 161 plate appearances split between the DSL and Rookie-Ball, but he did show some potential in the DSL where he had a 129 wRC+ and .387 wOBA.

Peguero had a great 2019 season. In 249 plate appearances he hit .326/.382/.485 with 11 doubles and .379 wOBA. Peguero had a much better overall year at Rookie-Ball with a 153 wRC+, .423 wOBA and .970 OPS, but he did see a rise in walk rate rise (7.7% to 8.6%) and strikeout rate fall (21.8% to 18.3%) after the promotion. Plus, he still put up a solid 101 wRC+ and .329 wOBA at Low-A.

Peguero has an elite-level hit tool, coming in with a future grade of 60. His next best tool is his speed. The shortstop is an athletic baseball player who has a 60 current grade but 55 future grade. In terms of fielding, he’s a plus fielder. Both his glove and arm have a 55 future grade. Peguero’s 90 MPH exit velocity helped him get a 50 future raw power grade, but his game power is only 40.

However, there are a few flaws in Peguero’s game. The middle infielder’s strong 2019 at Rookie-Ball was fueled by a .448 batting average on balls in play and .408 mark overall in 2019. While he did average a 90 MPH exit velocity, he hit a lot of ground balls. His ground ball rate was well above 50% at both Rookie-Ball and Low-A. His lack of power isn’t too inspiring either.

But this is all in a small amount of plate appearances. Peguero still could have a high ceiling. He’s only 20 with a projectable frame. He checks in at 6’1″, 160 pounds, but could easily add some weight. Another counter argument that could be made is that Peguero put up a much more manageable .343 BAbip and 42.6% ground ball rate at the DSL the year prior while still having solid numbers.

In terms of performance with the bat, many see a Jean Segura type player. Since 2016, Segura has hit .298/.346/.448 with a 110 wRC+ and .337 wOBA. Segura also is a plus base runner in this time with 5.7 baserunning runs above average. In terms of defense though, Peguero is a much better fielder.

In terms of the floor, I personally could see a Jose Iglesiaes type player develop in Peguero. Iglesiaes makes contact consistently, having a career .278 batting average and 12.1% strikeout rate. He’s also a great fielder with a career +22 DRS and 9.4 UZR/150. However, he struggles to get on base with a .319 OBP and only has a .381 slugging. He averages just about 2.7 fWAR per 600 plate appearances since 2013, his first big look in the Major Leagues, which makes him an overall average player.

However, a player I found that has a lot of similarities to Peguero is Nationals’ shortstop Trea Turner. When he was selected by the San Diego Padres in 2014, MLB Pipeline listed him at 6’1, 170, a very similar frame to Liover now. However, by the time he reached the Majors in 2016, he had grown into 6’2, 185. Turner, like Peguero, also had a high BAbip in one of his first pro seasons. In 2014, he stepped to the plate 321 times while having a .409 BAbip. Turner also had a notably high ground ball rate with a 54.4% rate at Low-A and 47.7% at High-A. Since 2016, Turner has had an 89.7 MPH exit velocity, almost identical Peguero’s average exit velo in 2019. While Turner is much, much faster, Peguero is a better fielder.

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In summary, Peguero has a pretty bright outlook for the Pittsburgh Pirates. At the very worst, he’s an average player like Jose Iglesiaes. In terms of a realistic view, he could be a consistently solid player like Jean Segura. However, there are a handful of similarities in him to Trea Turner early on in the World Series winning shortstop’s career. However, he still has a few years to go until we see him in the bigs.