This is one in a series of stories breaking down members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster.
Liover Peguero has plenty of physical gifts.
The Pittsburgh Pirates infielder possesses above-average power. He hit 20 home runs last season between the major leagues and minor leagues.
Peguero also has speed. According to Statcast, he ranked among the 95th percentile in sprint speed among major leaguers in 2023.
Peguero’s arm is above average. He was in the top 70th percentile in arm strength among MLB players as a rookie this year.
And he’s just 22 years old.
Now, the question is – as it is with some many young players – can Peguero turn that raw talent into major-league production?
Peguero had a spotty rookie season as he hit .237/.280/.374 with seven home runs and six stolen bases in 59 games. His defensive runs saved total was a disappointing minus-7 while starting 33 games at shortstop and 23 at second base.
That came after Peguero hit .260/.333/.453 in 69 games for Double-A Altoona with 11 home runs and 19 stolen bases before being promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis. Peguero spent just seven games with Indy before being called up to the big leagues on July 17, notching a .259/.333/.556 slash line with two homers and two steals.
Peguero had his struggles in the major leagues at times. He went hitless in his first 12 at-bats following his recall and fell into a 2-for-26 slump late in the season.
However, Peguero finished the year on a good note by going 4 for 11 in his last three games. He also had some personal highlights, including hitting his first major-league home run on July 24 off five-time All-Star Yu Darvish in a win over the Padres in San Diego.
Peguero has been primarily a shortstop throughout his professional career. However, that position will be the domain of Oneil Cruz in 2024 if he recovers from the broken left ankle that cut his 2023 season short after just nine games.
However, as it stands now., Peguero will have a chance to begin next season as the Pirates’ primary second baseman, though general manager Ben Cherington says he is open to acquiring middle infield help this offseason.
He figures to be part of a four-way competition for the starting job in spring training with Ji Hwan Bae, Nick Gonzales and Jared Triolo. Based on his raw athletic ability, it would be fair to say Peguero will enter Grapefruit League play as at least the slight favorite to win the job.