It’s fun watching Liover Peguero play baseball.
The shortstop prospect, acquired prior to the 2020 season in a trade for Starling Marte, currently has a .322/.352/.525 line in 125 plate appearances for Altoona. Peguero has added three homers and seven stolen bases. This all comes after a big season last year, where he had a .776 OPS, 14 home runs, and 28 stolen bases in Greensboro.
Peguero has an easy swing and the ability to put the ball in the air to all fields, as shown in the video below.
Peguero has been putting the ball in the air a lot more often this year, with a big reduction in his ground ball rate. The latter currently sits at 36.6%, after hovering around 50% ground balls for most of his career. The reduction in grounders has been matched with an increase in line drives (18.6% in 2021 to 23.7% in 2022) and fly balls (31.6% to 39.8%).
“He’s being on time,” said Altoona manager Kieran Mattison. “The contact point is more on time and not as deep. He’s just been able to slow the game down at the plate, and have a good approach consistently, and getting off a good swing.”
The increase in fly balls and line drives is naturally leading to an increase in power. Peguero has a career-high .203 isolated power, up from .174 last year.
Peguero’s bat, with his potential to add power through extra base hits and home runs, makes him valuable as a shortstop. He’s had some issues at the position, largely limited to throwing, as seen below. (Big thanks to Anthony Murphy for putting both of these videos together.)
Mattison said that the Pirates are focusing with Peguero on the right spot to target when he’s throwing to a base. There have been a few games I’ve watched where he has been bailed out by his first basemen, so this is an issue that isn’t fully shown with his ten errors. The Pirates are working with Peguero, but aren’t concerned about this issue long-term at the moment.
“He’s been doing a good job in his work day of having a consistent focus,” said Mattison of the defense. “That’s nothing that we’re concerned about. We just want to keep learning from everything that happens, and be students of the game.”
If Peguero had no flaws to his game, he’d be in the Majors right now. As it stands, he’s one of the youngest players in Double-A, at 21-years-old, and is having a very impressive season, outside of the throwing errors. Those might be the only thing holding him back if he continues hitting the way he’s done this year.
“He’s young, he’s learning a lot,” said Mattison. “For me, a guy like that, he grows a ton as he continues to grow and gain experience.”
THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.