Pittsburgh Pirates middle infield prospect Liover Peguero has been one of the organization's hottest minor leaguers over the last month, but his hot streak could lead to something bigger.
Pittsburgh Pirates infield prospect Liover Peguero entered 2023 with a lot to prove. A former consensus top 100 prospect, Peguero struggled in 2022, leading to most evaluators leaving him off their pre-season top 100 lists. However, Peguero has been on a hot streak for over a month now, could get back into the good graces of prospect evaluators, and lead to a promotion to the next level, whether that be Triple-A or the majors.
Now things didn’t start off all that good for Peguero. After the first two weeks of the minor league season, Peguero had just a 20 wRC+ and .439 OPS. He walked in less than 5% of his plate appearances while having a so-so 21.4% strikeout rate. It was a horrid start, but then something clicked for Peguero, and he’s since been a red hot batter.
Since April 21st, the start of the hot streak, Peguero is batting .319/.407/.553 over his last 108 plate appearances. Peguero has walked in 13% of his plate appearances while having an outstanding 16.7% strikeout rate. Peguero has an isolated slugging percentage well over .200 as well at .234. This all culminates to a .432 wOBA, and wRC+ of 163. Sure, a .362 batting average on balls in play is a tad high for Peguero, but it’s in such a small sample size that BAbip isn’t going to give a good reading, nor is .362 so unlucky there’s major regression in store (statistics exclude his game on May 21st).
This could be a massive revelation for Peguero and the Pirates. Sure, while Peguero did get off to a solid start in 2022, he’s had much better peripherals. His .887 OPS, .381 wOBA, and 135 wRC+ on May 20th, 2022 was a much different statline to today. He was drawing walks a whole lot less (4.8%), striking out more often (19.6%), and his batting average on balls in play was a much more worrisome .388. To put it simply, this recent hot streak seems more sustainable.
For the Pirates, it means they could get a much needed middle infield reinforcement. While Rodolfo Castro has done just fine since Oneil Cruz hit the injured list, Tucupita Marcano has shown some good htings, but Ji Hwan Bae has struggled. Not only could Peguero be a major boost to the line-up, but also boost overall morale after an extremely disappointing May so far, getting a potential long term cog in the major leagues, and a potentially exciting youngster in the bigs.
It’s nice to see Peguero doing well after his down 2022 season. Keep in mind that Peguero is only 22 years old. When he struggled last year at Altoona, he was about three and a half years younger than the average pitcher (nearly three years younger than the average position player). He’s still young, and 22 is a reasonable age to be at Double-A. Not every player is Juan Soto, and rocketing to the big leagues right after they turn 19. Hopefully, Peguero maintains his hot streak and forces his way into the long term infield picture.