Pittsburgh Pirates #1 Overall Draft Pick, pitcher Paul Skenes(LSU), will make his MLB debut on Saturday vs. the Chicago Cubs

Pirates announce date for 2023 No. 1 overall pick’s MLB debut
from Eric Smithling, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

Paul Skenes won’t wait much longer to make his MLB debut.

The Pirates announced on Wednesday they’re calling up the No. 1 overall pick of the 2023 MLB Draft. According to ESPN, he’s slated to make his first start on Saturday against the Cubs.

Pittsburgh has lost seven of its last 10 and sits a game ahead of the Cardinals for last in the NL Central. Earlier Wednesday, the Pirates lost 5-4 to the Angels.

Their problems go back even further, as the Pirates are 6-16 in their last 22 games after an 11-5 start. And while Skenes has lit up the minor leagues, he doesn’t solve Pittsburgh’s biggest issue.

Despite the team’s recent string of poor performances, the pitching staff has held up well. Entering Wednesday, Pirates pitchers had a 3.86 team ERA (earned run average) since April 15.

Instead, Pittsburgh’s bats have failed it. In that same stretch, the Pirates have the league’s second-worst team batting average (.188). Over their last 22 games, they’ve scored 2.1 runs per game.

Skenes has worked his way up quickly. After being drafted last July, he made two starts apiece in Class-A and Double-A before dominating in seven Triple-A starts this season.

Per data from FanGraphs, he averaged 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings with the Indianapolis Indians. In 27.1 innings, he had a minuscule 0.99 ERA. Skenes faced 105 batters in Triple-A and only allowed 17 hits to 45 strikeouts.

He was the No. 3 overall prospect in the Pirates farm system before the season, according to MLB.com.

Skenes, the 2023 National College Baseball Player of the Year, transferred to LSU from Air Force for his final collegiate season and went 13-2 with a 1.69 ERA while striking out a program-record 209 batters in 122.2 innings. He helped lead the Tigers to their seventh college baseball national championship and first since 2009.

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