Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Preview Liover Peguero’s 2022 Season


Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop prospect Liover Peguero had a solid 2021 season at High-A Greensboro, so where should he start the 2022 season?

Since being acquired in the Starling Marte trade back in the 2019-2020 offseason, Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop prospect Liover Peguero has developed into one of the more notable prospects in all of baseball. He’s a consensus top 100 prospect, coming in at #66 on FanGraphs list and 85th on MLB Pipeline’s rankings.

Previously, I’ve taken a look at where Quinn Priester and Nick Gonzales, two of the Pittsburgh Pirates best prospects, will start the 2022 season. Now, after a solid season at High-A Greensboro, I want to take a look at Peguero’s potential starting place.

During 2021, Peguero posted a .270/.332/.442 slash line with a .338 wOBA, and 108 wRC+ through 417 plate appearances. The shortstop blasted 14 home runs while having 19 doubles, putting him on pace for 20 long balls and 27 two-baggers in a 600 plate appearance span. While he only had a 7.9% walk rate and 25.2% strikeout rate, Peguero did have a solid .174 isolated slugging (ISO) the best single-season mark of his professional career so far.

Peguero also turned on the afterburners in the second half of the season. From July 25th through the end of the campaign, the shortstop batted .301/.359/.509 with a .374 wOBA, and 130 wRC+. Though his strikeout and walk rate stayed relatively the same as his 2021 average of 8.2% and 25.2%. Plus, he had an ISO above .200.

What makes this impressive is that he did this at just the age of 20. Peguero was by far the youngest player at Greensboro and 2.6 years younger than the average Grasshopper. For reference, the mean age for all teams at High-A East was nearly 23-years-old (22.9 to be exact). He was also just one of four total position players to be in their age-20 or younger season, and receive at least 200 plate appearances throughout the East.

Overall, Peguero has developed into a top quality prospect. Currently, his hit tool is a projected-60 grade. He’s also developed his power to the point where many see it as average with the potential to get to above average. He was a wire-thin, 6’1″, 160 pounds when he was originally signed by the D-Backs.

However, he’s added a fair bit of bulk, now coming in at 200 pounds. FanGraphs first had him as just a 40-projected game power hitter back in 2018, but that has since risen to 45. Given his solid power output in 2021, as well as his growing frame, he’s been trending in the right direction. I wouldn’t rule out him being a 55-grade power hitter by the time he’s in his age-23/24 seasons based on the way his power has trended.

His offensive profile is highlighted by his outstanding bat-speed and quick hands/reflexes at the plate, which led to him having well above average exit velocity numbers. As a defender, he’s a plus fielder at short with a strong enough arm. He’s also athletic and fast enough to remain at shortstop long term, and has plus speed. Many see a better fielding Jean Segura type player. A contact hitting, plus fielding shrotstop and 20+ stolen bases, but with enough pop to give you a 12-15 home runs a year, and 30-40 doubles.

So what are Peguero’s chances to start out 2022 at Double-A?

Well, he is still going to be very young for his level. Peguero will be going into his age-21 season. The average age of Altoona’s position players was 22.9-years-old, and they were one of the youngest teams in the league. The mean age of position players at Double-A Northeast was 23.8-years-old. Again, Peguero would be nearly 3 years younger than the average age of most of his competitors.

This season Oneil Cruz was the primary shortstop at Double-A Altoona. But after his phenomenal short stint at Triple-A, and strong first impression in the big leagues, he’ll likely get a little more seasoning at Indianapolis to start 2022. While Peguero is younger, he is the closest to reasonably starting at Double-A. Ji-Hwan Bae and Rodolfo Castro will likely get their seasons kicked off at Triple-A. Maikol Escotto and Bubba Chandler (if they keep him as a two-way player) are far too young to start at Double-A. The only player you could possibly say has a chance of getting any reps at Double-A is Tucuptia Marcano. Marcano went directly from A-Ball to the major leagues. Then, he was demoted back to Triple-A (yes, he appeared in the majors before Triple-A even). He’ll be going into his age-22 season, but after some promise down at Triple-A, he has a better chance of getting his season started at Indianapolis.

Next. Examining How the Pirate Farm System Was Built. dark

Overall, the only good argument for the Pittsburgh Pirates to keep Peguero at High-A is his age. Peguero performed well at Greensboro, and he improved as the season went on, as indicated by his strong numbers in the second half of the season. He might be a fair bit younger than his competition, but he’s proven that he can keep up with the older kids. I think there’s a very good chance that Peguero ends up starting the year at Altoona, but also spending a decent amount of the season there.