Pittsburgh Pirates’ No. 1 pick comments on possibly being Big Buccos version of Shohei Ohtani

No. 1 pick comments on possibly being Pirates version of Shohei Ohtani
from Mike Santa Barbara, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

Flame-throwing starting pitcher Paul Skenes went first overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday in the 2023 MLB Draft. However, with experience as a two-way player, might Skenes be the Pirates version of Shohei Ohtani one day?

Shortly after hearing his name called at No. 1, Skenes committed to being a pitcher first but didn’t completely rule out hitting at some point.

“I think I’m a pitcher,” Skenes said via ESPN. “But, we’ll see about the hitting — I would want to hit, but I definitely think I’m a pitcher first.”

Skenes was incredible for the Tigers as a hurler during their championship season, but his talents extend beyond the mound. Before transferring to LSU in 2023, Skenes was a two-way standout for Air Force, pitching and catching. In 119 games over two seasons for Air Force, Skenes batted .367/.453/.669 with 24 home runs and 81 RBI.

With the emergence of Ohtani as both a dominant pitcher and hitter, it’s only natural to expect that someone, somewhere, is the next to do it. However, while it might be fun to imagine Skenes being the guy, the Pirates will probably be happy adding an ace to their rotation.

At 6-foot-6, Skenes is an intimidating force on the mound and his collegiate numbers back it up. In 2023, Skenes finished 10-2 with a 1.89 ERA while leading all of college baseball in strikeouts (167) and WHIP (0.79).

On Sunday, Skenes became the first pitcher to win the MCWS Most Outstanding Player Award and go No. 1 in the MLB Draft. But he earned those accolades as a pitcher, not a hitter.