Pirates Call Up Paul Skanes Against MLB Debut Cubs

The Pittsburgh Pirates are calling up star prospect Paul Skence, and the hard-throwing right-hander will make his debut Saturday against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.

Considered the greatest pitching talent of a generation, the 21-year-old Skanes will come to Pittsburgh after dominating Triple-A, allowing three earned runs in 27⅓ innings and striking out 45 batters.

After one of the best seasons for a college pitcher, Skanes signed with the Pirates with the No. 1 pick in the July 2023 draft for $9.2 million, the largest bonus for an amateur player in baseball history. Pittsburgh LSU limited his workload after a junior season in which he struck out 209 hitters and allowed just 20 runs in 122⅔ innings while going 13-2 with a 1.69 ERA.

Although evaluators believed Skanes was major-league ready when Pittsburgh drafted him, the Pirates entered 2024 wanting to build him up slowly and avoid a midseason slump in his innings. By limiting Skeens’ pitch count in the minor leagues — he didn’t throw more than 75 pitches in a Triple-A start this year — the Pirates hope he can join a rotation that includes hard-throwing rookie Jared Jones. The rest of the season.

How to handle elite pitching prospects has long been a mystery to front offices, especially this season as arm injuries to hard-throwing starters mount. The two faces closest to Skeens in terms of college prep and major league readiness are Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg and Cubs right-hander Mark Prior, both of whom excelled at flashing big leagues but ultimately had their careers cut short by hands. Injuries.

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At 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, Skanes considers Mantle the hardest-throwing starter in the game — and perhaps the fastest rotation member in baseball history. At Triple-A Indianapolis, Scanes’ four-seam fastball has reached 102.1 mph. A combination splitter and sinker — thrown by the Minnesota Twins’ Jon Duran at 95 mph — added a smooth changeup that hit 88 mph. Occasionally switched to a slower curve.

While the Pirates are currently in last place in the National League Central, that’s more due to their offensive woes than their strong arms. Few starters in the NL have been as impressive as the 22-year-old Jones, and with Skanes joining veterans Mitch Keller, Martin Perez and Bailey Falter, the Pirates now have the best rotation in the division.

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