The Pirates announced they’ve selected four prospects — infielder Liover Peguero and outfielders Canaan Smith-Njigba, Travis Swaggerty and Jack Suwinski — to the 40-man roster. To create space, the club designated catcher Michael Pérez for assignment.
A waiver claim out of the Rays organization last offseason, Pérez saw 70 games worth of action with the Pirates behind number one catcher Jacob Stallings. Unfortunately for both player and team, Perez continued to struggle at the plate despite providing serviceable defense behind it. Through 231 plate appearances the left-handed catcher produced at a .143/.221/.290 clip, though he did hit a career-best 7 home runs. He’s likely to latch onto an organization this winter as catching depth.
Liover Peguero, acquired in the trade that sent Starling Marte to Arizona, is ranked the #5 prospect in a solid Pittsburgh farm system. The speedy 20-year-old performed respectably last season across 90 games at the high-A level, setting a new high watermark in home runs with 14 to go with 28 steals (in 34 tries). The resulting .270/.332/.444 output, plus what scouts consider to be above average defense at shortstop, gave Pittsburgh ample reason to protect their up-and-coming prospect.
The 22-year-old Canaan Smith-Njigba was a 4th-rounder by the Yankees in 2017 before they traded him to Pittsburgh as part of the Jameson Taillon deal. A solid .274/.398/.406 led to a cup of coffee at Triple-A, and a terrific showing in the Arizona Fall League has the left fielder knocking on the Major League door.
Centerfielder Travis Swaggerty, a first-round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 2018 and a one-time top 100 prospect in the eyes of some evaluators, saw little action this past season. The left-handed hitter produced a decent .220/.333/.439 line in 12 Triple-A games before incurring a season-ending shoulder injury. Well-rounded tools at a premium position, plus his pedigree, will keep him in the Pirates organization for awhile longer.
Lastly, Jack Suwinski, acquired in this past summer’s Adam Frazier deal, had a decent 2021 season in his own right. The 23-year-old popped 19 home runs across 111 games at the Double-A level, culminating in a strong .262/.383/.485 slash. Though most of that production came prior to the trade, MLB.com lists Suwinski among the Pirates top prospects (#29) and projects him as a bat-first option in right field.