It’s really been a wild ride of a season for Pirates shortstop prospect Liover Peguero. He started the season by establishing himself as one of the better hitters in the Eastern League, despite also being one of the youngest.
Now down the stretch he’s really struggled, not nearly being as productive as he was when the season began.
So what changed?
Not counting Tuesday’s night game, Peguero is at a near even split when it comes to plate appearances before and after he spent that weekend in Pittsburgh as an emergency call-up, making his major league debut during that time.
Overall, the counting numbers are like night and day since coming back from making his major league debut. He isn’t nearly hitting for the power that he did before, and his batting average is 70-points lower in the second half compared to the first.
Maybe the only complaint that you could have about Peguero’s offense during the first half of the season was the lack of walks, posting a 2.9% rate before his pitstop in Pittsburgh. Since that, he’s basically back to his career minor league rate (6.6% career, 6.7% post Pirates debut).
He’s also shaving a couple of points off his strikeout rate, and while 22.8% for the first half is still lower than his 2021 mark, a good week at the plate against Erie and he could drop his post-debut mark underneath 20%.
The last number of note is his BABIP, and when at first glance it would generally explain a lot. His BABIP of .363 in the first half is usually a number that isn’t maintainable, and while a near 100-point drop is a little steep, it usually isn’t a surprise to see a decline of some sort.
Entering this season, Peguero had a career BABIP of .351 in over 1,000 plate appearances, going all the way back to the Dominican Summer League. So his first half BABIP is closer to Peguero’s historical performance, and when it comes to numbers like that I tend to believe the data collected from over 1,000 plate appearances over 238.
While it’s unfortunate he couldn’t sustain the success he had at the beginning of the year throughout, there are least some building blocks in his struggles that he can go back and find some things he did right. It also has to bring up the question on if Peguero spending time in Pittsburgh had anything to do with him falling into his slump, or if it was just bad timing.
Regardless, this comes across as another example of development not being linear, and a reminder on just how young Peguero was playing in Double-A, as Baseball Reference has him nearly three years younger than his competition.
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