Wednesday, May 29, 2024
AnalysisMLBNational LeagueNL CentralPittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates Have Chosen A Direction

Today the Pirates have effectively chosen to rebuild after they moved their biggest trade chip of the 2019-2020 off-season, dealing Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks for prospects Liover Peguero and Brennan Malone, along with $250,000 in international bonus pool money. According to Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs, Peguero and Malone were Arizona’s 5th and 10th ranked prospects respectively. When the trade was first announced the return seemed a bit light for the Pirates and new general manager Ben Cherington. However, after further investigation both Peguero and Malone could be exciting additions to a middling Pittsburgh farm system.

Liover Peguero, Fangraphs #5 Diamondbacks prospect, is a 6’1” Shortstop prospect who was signed in 2017 by the Diamondbacks out of the Dominican Republic. According to Fangraphs, Peguero is a future 50 grade player with a plus hit tool, potential average power, with above average speed and arm strength who can play a capable shortstop. Peguero has plus bat speed, which allows his plus hit tool to play up even against velocity, it also increases his likelihood of growing into power.  Peguero acquitted himself well in 2019 batting .326/.382/.485 with 5HR and 11SB in 60 games across the rookie ball and low a levels. Peguero has the upside to be an above average major league shortstop, and his bat should play up well enough to move down the defensive ladder if that becomes necessary.

Malone, Fangraphs #10 ranked prospect, is a 6’5” right handed pitcher who was drafted with the 33rd overall pick in the rule 4 draft. Malone is exactly the type of pitcher the Pirates have targeted for years, a prep right hander with a power fastball, breaking ball combo and an offspeed pitch that needs refinement. According to Fangraphs Malone has a plus fastball that sits 92-96 and can touch 99 with an above average to plus breaking ball, and a below average changeup. Malone possesses’ fringe-average command, that could easily be refined over his ascension through the minors and has the upside to be a mid-rotation starter.

While both Peguero and Malone are at least two years away from making the big league rotation, they are exactly the type of prospects the Pirates should be targeting during their rebuild. High upside players with a realistic path to hitting their ceiling. Obviously with all prospects the downside is that they might never make the majors, but with both Peguero, and especially with Malone that outcome seems unlikely.  Peguero seems like a sure enough bet to at least be a utility player on a competitive team. While Malone is likely going to be a high leverage reliever if things don’t pan out as a starter, due to his big fastball and power breaking ball.

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