Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting Top 5 Prospects at the End of 2021
By Noah Wright
Number 5 – Infielder Liover Peguero
Liover Peguero was the main piece coming back in the Starling Marte trade. Peguero is generally considered the second best shortstop prospect in the Pirate system behind Oneil Cruz. However, it’s likely Cruz ends up playing another position other than shortstop. In my opinion, Peguero is the Pirates’ best pure shortstop and has a higher floor than Cruz.
The middle infielder spent his 2019 season with the Diamondbacks’ Low-A and Rookie-Ball affiliates. 138 of his 249 trips to the plate were taken at Rookie-Ball where he clocked in with a strong .364/.410/.559 line, .443 wOBA and 153 wRC+. When he was promoted to Low-A, he put up a much less productive, albeit still solid .262/.333/.357 line, .329 wOBA and 101 wRC+. However, one positive to come out of his promotion was an improvement in plate discipline. Peguero was able to cut down his strikeout rate from 21.8% to 18.3% while raising his walk rate from 7.7% to 8.6%.
Peguero’s hit tool is in the elite/near-elite category coming in with a 60-future grade. It’s his best tool, however not his only above average tool. His speed, fielding and arm all are projected as 55-grade abilities. There is just one question, that being his power.
Peguero only had a .159 ISO in 2019 and previously stood at just 6’1″, 160 lpounds. However, it seems he added some bulk over the off season. Now he weighed in at the same height, but at 200 pounds. Peguero had an average exit velo of a very solid 90 MPH and 42% hard hit rate. But now given his added bulk, he could see both of those take a step forward and see his overall power projections rise.
Going into the 2021 season Peguero projects as a four-tool player. He has a good hit tool, is a plus runner, can field his position well and has the arm to stick at shortstop long term. If he can just get his power to an average level, he could be one of the best shortstops in all of baseball within the next few seasons, and make for a deadly double play combo with Gonzales for years to come.