Friday marked the deadline for teams to add prospects to their 40-man rosters in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft and the Pirates added four players. Outfielders Travis Swaggerty, Canaan Smith-Njigba and Jack Suwinski and infielder Liover Peguero were all added to the 40-man. To clear a spot on the roster, catcher Michael Perez was designated for assignment.
Peguero is the highest-rated prospect of the bunch, checking in as the Pirates’ fifth-best prospect and no. 85 in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline. Peguero spent the whole season with High-A Greensboro where he hit .270 with a .776 OPS with 14 homers and 28 steals in 90 games. Peguero manned shortstop in 86 contests for the Grasshoppers this past season. While defense has been a question mark at times, Peguero possess the tools to be a solid defender up the middle.
Swaggerty is probably the most MLB-ready of the four prospects added and he could be in Pittsburgh sooner rather than later. A dislocated shoulder ended Swaggerty’s season at Triple-A Indianapolis just 12 games into the season. The former first-round pick posted a .772 OPS in his very limited season in 2021.
The Pirates acquired Smith-Njigba from the Yankees in the Jameson Taillon trade last offseason. He spent most of the season at Double-A Altoona before a late season promotion to Indianapolis. Smith-Njigba posted an OPS of .805 with the Curve before scuffling in seven games with Indy. The left-handed hitter offers a professional approach at the plate with above-average on-base skills.
Suwinksi is the biggest surprise addition to the roster for the Pirates. Acquired in the July trade that sent Adam Frazier to the Padres, Suwinski spent the entire year at Double-A between the two organizations. He hit .262 with an .868 OPS and 19 home runs in 2021.
The Pirates faced difficult decisions with a number of their more highly-regarded prospects and had to leave off a few intriguing names. Pitchers Tahnaj Thomas and Omar Cruz, first baseman Mason Martin and outfielder Cal Mitchell are among the Pirates’ prospects now in jeopardy of joining other organizations via the Rule 5 draft next month.
The Pirates decision to DFA Perez does not come as much of a surprise. He served as Jacob Stallings’ primary backup behind the plate in 2021 but struggled offensively. He hit just .143 with a 38 OPS+ in 70 games with the Pirates.
The Bucs 40-man roster is now full at 40.