Shortstop: Liover Peguero
Acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Starling Marte trade, Liover Peguero is the organization’s second best shortstop prospect behind Oneil Cruz. Like all the names we’ve talked about so far today, Peugero was an international signing. This time by the Diamondbacks out of the Dominican Republic.
Peguero saw the most professional playing time of his young career in 2019. Through 249 plate appearances between Rookie-Ball and Low-A, Peguero hit .326/.382/.485. He hit much better at Rookie-Ball than Low-A, posting a 153 wRC+ and .423 wOBA there, but still put up a respectable .329 wOBA and 101 wRC+ at Low-A. Plus he showed improved plate discipline as his walk rate went from 7.7% to 8.6% and he cut his strikeout rate from 21.8% to 18.3%.
Peguero is a very athletic shortstop. He’s stolen 18 bases in 101 career games. He has a current speed grade of 60 but a future grade of 55, which is still above average. He’s also seen as a plus fielder (55 fielding grade) with a strong arm (55 throw grade).
However, there are a few things to note about Peguero. His season was carried by a high .401 batting average balls in play. He also had a ground ball well above 50% at both levels. While there is a bit of concern, this is all in less than 300 plate appearances. He’s yet to collect 400 plate appearances in a single season yet. He showed he can hit to all fields in Rookie-Ball and he just turned 20 on the 31st. He has a projectable 6’1″ frame. He already averaged 90 MPH off the bat. If he adds just a bit of bulk and starts getting the ball in the air more, then he could be one of the best shortstop prospects in the game. After all, we have yet to see how he does under the Pirate development and coaching.