The Pittsburgh Pirates had an addition to their list of top prospects following the trade of Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks. As a part of the deal, the Pirates received pitcher Brennan Malone, shortstop prospect Liover Peguero as well as international bonus pool money.
Peguero joins a crowded list of Pirates shortstop prospects that includes Oneil Cruz and Ji-Hwan Bae among others. The 19-year old has the makings of a five-tool player who has both the bat and the athleticism to allow him to stick at shortstop or move to another position if blocked.
The Dominican Republic native was originally signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks as an international free agent on July 2, 2017, for $475,000. Last year he was ranked as the 7th best prospect in the Diamondbacks organization by Baseball America.
With the Pirates, he is currently ranked as the 6th best prospect in the Pittsburgh system and the 98th best prospect in all of Major League Baseball. Those are commendable rankings given that Peguero only recently turned 19-years old.
On a scale of 20 to 80 with 50 being average, Peguero has a hit tool rating of 60, a power rating of 50, a speed rating of 55, a fielding rating of 55 and a throwing rating of 55. With every aspect of his game ranked as average or better, it is understandable why many scouts believe him to be a future five-tool player in the majors.
Power is the only area that Peguero currently lacks. He is currently projected to be a player with a ceiling of 15 home runs annually. However, if he is able to add muscle mass and strength to his 6’1” and 160-pound lanky frame, his power projection numbers are likely to increase.
Peguero possesses an excellent hit tool and plate discipline that is highly advanced for his age. He manages to barrel the ball well and hit the ball to all parts of the field. Given that he already has excellent bat speed, adding strength and would almost certainly result in increased power.
Even if he is unable to increase his power numbers, the rest of his game still projects him as an above-average major league player, as he is an excellent defender, makes good contact and has plus speed.
Last season Peguero played at Low-A Hillsboro and in the Rookie League at Missoula for the Diamondbacks. Between the two levels, he posted a .326 batting average, five home runs, 38 runs batted in, 11 stolen bases, 11 doubles, and five triples in just 60 games.
While in Missoula, Peguero was undoubtedly one of the best hitters in the Pioneer League. Though the Pioneer League is a hitter-friendly league, much of his success was due to his excellent plate discipline. Last season, the young shortstop managed to strike out only 51 times in 60 games, while walking 20 times, a clear demonstration of his advanced batting eye.
On January 27th, the Pirates announced that Peguero had been assigned with the Bristol Pirates, their Rookie League affiliate. If he continues to have success similar to what he had with the Diamondbacks affiliates last season, he is expected to advance through the Pirates system fairly quickly. Currently, his estimated arrival date with Pittsburgh is 2022.
Pirates fans will certainly enjoy watching Peguero as he is a high energy player who shows a great deal of passion and love for the game of baseball. With another solid season in the minors, he is expected to rocket up both the Pirates and MLB prospect lists.