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May 8, 2024 8:09 pm

Pirates calling up Paul Skenes, top pitching prospect in majors

Paul Skenes

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced Wednesday that they are promoting right-hander Paul Skenes, the top pitching prospect in baseball, and he is expected to start Saturday’s home game against the Chicago Cubs.

Skenes, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft out of LSU, has dominated Triple-A batters for Indianapolis. He has a 0.99 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings over seven starts.

The 6-foot-6 Skenes received a $9.2 million signing bonus, the largest awarded to an amateur. He led LSU to the College World Series title last season.

Skenes’ arrival is the most anticipated for a top pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg, who was the No. 1 overall pick out of San Diego State in 2009 and made his debut on June 8, 2010. Strasburg struck out 14 in seven innings and allowed two runs and four hits while beating the Pirates in his first start.

Strasburg helped the Washington Nationals win the 2019 World Series before injuries derailed his career.

Skenes, who turns 22 on May 29, has averaged fewer than four innings per start with Indianapolis, his longest outing being a six-inning scoreless start against Buffalo on April 30. He allowed four hits and struck out seven.

In his last outing, Skenes gave up two runs and three hits over 4 1/3 innings against Buffalo.

Skenes pitched 6 2/3 innings over five minor league appearances across three levels last season after signing with Pittsburgh. He struck out 10 in 6 2/3 innings and had a 5.40 ERA.

During the 2023 college season, Skenes was 13-2 with a 1.69 ERA in 19 starts with two complete games for LSU. He struck out 209 batters and walked just 20 in 122 2/3 innings.

–Field Level Media

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