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Perrotto: Pirates Can’t Let Liover Peguero Get Lost in Shuffle



I didn’t expect this when spring training started on Feb. 14.

Jared Triolo will be the Pittsburgh Pirates’ second baseman on Thursday when they open the season by visiting the Miami Marlins. Meanwhile, Liover Peguero will begin the season at Triple-A Indianapolis.

I was sure Peguero was going to win that competition.

It is hard to fault the Pirates for this decision, though. Triolo has been the better player during spring training.

Triolo has gone 12 for 37 (.324) with one home run, two doubles and five walks in the Grapefruit League. His .405 on-base percentage and .919 OPS have been impressive.

Triolo has seamlessly converted from third baseman to second baseman this spring. The Pirates were confident that Triolo could make the move because he has been outstanding defensively at the hot corner since being their second-round draft pick in 2019.

Peguero has not had a bad spring. He is 7 for 26 (.269) with two homers despite being slowed by illness.

However, I believe Peguero will have a better career than Triolo. And, hopefully, the Pirates won’t forget about Peguero while he’ll be in Indianapolis.

Granted, Peguero hasn’t produced great numbers at the major-league level. In 60 games, he has hit .239/.284/.373 with seven home runs and six stolen bases. Furthermore, Peguero has struck out 67 times in 217 plate appearances while drawing just 12 walks.

However, Peguero is one of the most dynamic players in the Pirates’ organization.

While it was mostly unnoticed, Peguero hit 20 home runs combined last season for the Pirates, Indianapolis and Double-A Altoona in 135 games. Peguero told me in the offseason that he believes he can regularly hit 30 homers a season because he is just becoming comfortable in hitting for power.

Peguero also has above-average speed. He had 27 steals last season after registering 28 for High-A Greensboro in 2022 and Altoona in 2023.

Adding to the intrigue is that Peguero is 23 years old and still has plenty of upside.

Could he blossom into a 30 homer-30 steal player? Perhaps but he certainly could be a perennial 20-20 guy.

There are two more reasons to like Peguero.

For one, he plays with great energy. Secondly, he has an outstanding command of the English language despite being born and raised in the Dominican Republic. With his joyful personality and lack of a language barrier, Peguero could become one of the Pirates’ most popular players.

Beyond running the risk of being out of sight and out of mind, Peguero could get lost in an organizational middle infield shuffle despite shortstop being his natural position.

Oneil Cruz appears to have recovered from the broken ankle sustained last year and should be the shortstop for many years. That slick-fielding Alika Williams will be on the opening-day roster suggests he could be the first option at shortstop if Cruz ever switches positions.

Any questions about second base will be answered once top prospect Termarr Johnson reaches the major leagues, which could be as soon as next season.

Yet the Pirates would be wise to find a spot for Peguero somewhere. No lineup can ever have enough players who have power and speed.

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