ALTOONA, Pa. – Liover Peguero is one of the most talented players you will see on a baseball field.
Whether offensively or defensively, he routinely flashes the tools and skills that you usually see from impact MLB players. The 21-year-old shortstop is currently in his first year at the Double-A level, and the results haven’t shown his skills.
Peguero is batting .262/.300/.392 this year in Altoona. He also has 18 errors at shortstop, and eight more at second base, most of them on throws.
Watching Peguero on the field, he consistently is late timing his jump to get set. An infielder tries to time a jump to land on the dirt as the ball is making contact, allowing the infielder to react and spring toward the ball. Peguero is often landing after contact has been made.
“I think one thing that has been hitting a little bit, that anticipation process,” said Peguero. “I feel like I’ve been thinking a lot more than before, and that’s where I get lost a little bit. If I’m able to stay in the moment, stay present, I think I’ll be able to make an adjustment right now.”
The late start has led to a lot of his throwing errors. Peguero is very fast, and his natural ability allows him to get a consistently later start. There are some plays where this can lead to him getting behind, which leads to rushed or poorly executed throws.
To fix this, Peguero has been focusing on his pre-pitch routine, which involves a lot as the shortstop.
“If I’m able to adjust on that, I feel like everything will be good,” said Peguero.
Offensively, Peguero has the tools to hit for average and hit for power. That hasn’t shown up in the stats.
“[He needs to] just continue to get good pitches and own the zone and use the big part of the field,” said Altoona hitting coach Jon Nunnally of Peguero. “Gonzales has quick hands. His may be faster. That’s what’s amazing about it. He’s young, and he’s got a lot of power in there.”
Peguero’s natural tendency is to pull the baseball. Just like with Gonzales, the Pirates are teaching him how to hit the pitches that he wants to hit.
“To keep him on the pitch that he wants to pull, you’ve got to work in a different lane, so you can do the things you want to do more consistently,” said Nunnally. “Just keep you on that baseball a little longer.”
Peguero tries to pull the ball to left, so the Pirates have him focusing on working more middle of the field to right-center with his focus.
“When he’s on it, he’s on it. Nobody can throw fastballs by him,” said Nunnally. “Only when he gets in his head a little bit, because he’s young.”
Peguero is one of the younger players at the Double-A level this year, but he doesn’t let that impact him.
“It doesn’t matter what’s your age,” said Peguero. “If you’re able to handle things, you’ll be fine. I don’t really look at it like age. I’m mature enough to keep moving forward.”
Just like his work in the field, Peguero is trying to be present with every pitch at the plate.
“I don’t like to think too much at the plate,” said Peguero. “Hitting is hard. Imagine if you’re up there and thinking, you’re not going to be able to even touch the baseball. I feel like I’ve just gotta be out there and be ready to hit on every pitch, and enjoy myself, and enjoy the time.”
Peguero is a highly confident player at a young age. He plays the game hard, and goes all out in the field.
The Double-A level is one where young players like Peguero are not only out on their own, trying to manage their life, but also where those players are going up against the best prospects in the game. A challenge in succeeding at this level is making sure that your entire life routine is going well.
“It’s pretty hard and tough at the same time,” said Peguero. “One thing I always think about is you’ve got to be a professional. Not only inside the field, but outside as well. I feel like if you are able to work on things separately, I feel like you’ll be fine, and not do all of the things at the same time.”
Peguero feels like there has been one thing that has helped the most.
“One of the things that has helped me a lot at this level is how to be under control, and control myself, and control the situation all the time,” said Peguero. “I feel like that is the main key right now. Just stay in the moment, breathe, and think about the things that are going on, and try to slow down.”
THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.