After getting his first extended look in the majors in 2023, what roles could Liover Peguero potentially play for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2024?
The 2023 season saw many players either make their MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates, or get their first extended look in the majors. One player who had debuted before 2023 but did not get their first extended look until this past season was infielder Liover Peguero.
The key piece of the Starling Marte trade from February 2020, Peguero made his MLB debut with the Pirates in 2022. However, it was very much just a cup of coffee as Peguero spent just one weekend in the majors, getting 4 plate appearances while starting once.
2023 was a different story for Peguero and his time in the majors. Peguero played in 59 games with the Pirates in 2023, accumulating 213 PAs. During his time in the majors, Peguero played both shortstop and second base.
The former top 100 prospect did struggle at the plate in his first extended look in the majors. Peguero hit for a .237/.280/.374 slash line with a 74 wRC+, 77 OPS+, and a .136 isolated slugging (ISO). Peguero hit 7 home runs, walked in 5.2% of his trips to the plate, and struck out at a 31.5% clip.
Even though Peguero struggled offensively in 2023, there is reason to believe he could improve. The biggest reason could be his age. Peguero still is just 22-years-old, which si very young for a MLB hitter.
One area where Peguero could improve in 2024 is to lift the ball more. The league average ground ball rate for hitters in 2023 was 44.6%, but Peguero put the ball on the ground at a 52.2% rate. Peguero did a good job of hitting the ball hard, as both his 39.6% hard-hit rate and average exit velocity of 89.3 MPH were both above league average.
Looking ahead to 2024, what roles could Peguero play for the Pirates?
Well, first off, he will likely enter the spring competing for the starting second base job. Due to having bigger needs elsewhere (first base, starting pitching, bullpen) it is unlikely the Pirates address second base externally this offseason. Due to this, in house options such as Peguero, Nick Gonzales, and Jared Triolo will likely compete for the starting second base job in the spring.
Another potential role for Peguero could be as a backup middle infielder for the Bucs. Peguero logged 284.1 innings at shortstop last season and 208.2 innings at second base. He did have defensive struggles at each position, however, posting a -4 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) at second base and a -3 DRS at shortstop.
Every team will find themselves in need of a utility man on the bench capable of playing the middle infield positions. The Pirates may already have that man on their roster in Peguero, and backup middle infielder may prove to be Peguero's best role with the Pirates in 2024.