Nick Gonzales, Liover Peguero could be waiting in the wings
All of this may prove to be a moot point. 2020 first-round pick Nick Gonzales may still be viewed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as their second baseman of the future. If not Gonzales, it could be top 100 middle infield prospect Liover Peguero.
Gonzales missed time due to injury last season, but still hit for a .263/.383/.429 slash line and a 127 wRC+ in 316 PAs at Double-A Altoona. Most encouraging was Gonzales overcoming early season struggles, especially with the swing-and-miss, to finish the season strong.
Gonzales also impressed in the Arizona Fall League. In the AFL, Gonzales hit for a .279/.351/.500 slash line with three home runs, four doubles, and a triple in 77 PAs. He also hit a home run in the Surprise Saguaros AFL Championship Game victory.
Peguero struggled for Altoona last season. He posted just a .259/.305/.387 slash line and an 88 wRC+. However, it should be noted that he had little to no lineup protecting for much of the season, especially when Gonzales was injured.
Peguero did make his MLB debut last season. Getting a cup of coffee for one series in June, Peguero went 1-for-3 with a walk. Peguero is a shortstop by trait, but with Cruz having that position locked down his long-term home with the Pittsburgh Pirates could be at second base.
Whoever starts at second base on Opening Day for the Pittsburgh Pirates may prove to be nothing more than a placeholder for Gonzales or Peguero. Hopefully, whoever the starting second baseman is to start the season spots strong numbers while Gonzales and Peguero do the same in the minors, giving the Pirates a good problem at the position.