A top prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, shortstop Liover Peguero used hip-hop music to learn the English language while growing up in the Dominican Republic.
In a recent story by MLB.com’s Justice delos Santos, Peguero revealed the first time he heard hip-hop and how it made him fall in love with the language.
At age 10 he heard a song by rapper 50 Cent and remembered asking his uncle who sang the song, the rest has been history.
“I fell in love with the language, I remember asking my uncle ‘What’s that language? I Don’t know that language.” Peguero said.
Peguero would read songs and translate the lyrics as he listened to them, he slowly built up his vocabulary while trying not to remember the explicit words.
He remembers the moment that he realized he was comfortable speaking English. It was 2017 and he was at the Arizona Diamondbacks rookie facility having a conversation with fellow Diamondbacks farmhand Pavin Smith.
“That’s when I realized, ‘Oh dang, I really got this. Look at me, now I’m speaking it. That’s when I got really comfortable with it.” Peguero would say.
Peguero isn’t the only player in the Pirates organization who used hip-hop to learn English, starting pitcher Roansy Contreras used it to help him learn while in the New York Yankees organization in 2018.
“If you learn something different every day and practice it, that helps me a lot,” Contreras said. Also adding “When I listen to rap music in English I feel like I have more energy in my body.”
Only 22 years old, Peguero is having a bounceback year in 2023 after struggling in his first year in Double-A in 2022.
With a much-improved eye at the plate, Peguero has been able to draw more walks and strike out less while causing havoc on the basepaths.
With a slash line of .270/.343/.432, Peguero is looking to continue his strong season and force his way into the future plans for the Pirates.