Paul Skenes 7 Strikeouts vs. Storm Chasers



When I heard Paul Skenes was coming to Omaha to face the hometown Storm Chasers I had to go and feel the heat for myself.

Feel the heat via this video RN (or read about it below):


It was Kid’s Day at Werner Park and first pitch was 11:05. These kids had no idea they were witnessing a generational talent; a term I despise but will use in honor of today’s NFL Draft #BearDown.

For all the kids cared, Todd Van Poppel could’ve been out there hurling the pearl and it would have been all the same to them and their sea of balloon animals, free t-shirts, mobile devices, and future dreams that will doubtlessly go unrealized.

Other than the kids, there were a bunch of old man baseball nerds such as myself thirsting over Paul Skenes, reigning College World Series champ at LSU and #1 selection in the 2023 MLB Draft.

Skenes was the second player in LSU history to be selected first overall in the draft, joining Big Ben McDonald. Skenes signed with the Pirates for a $9.2 million signing bonus the highest ever.

In his first four starts in Triple A, Skenes allowed five hits and four walks in 12 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out 27 dudes in 12 2/3 innings, 57.4% of the batters he’s faced for all you math nerds (me).

So not only was he cutting the mustard but he was exceeding the expectations.

Which impressed me, especially seeing the old dudes (me), kids, and babes leering at him during his pre-game warmup from outside the locker-room and behind the chain-linked fence of the Indianapolis Indians’ bullpen.


In this game Skenes was facing-off against Zach Davies, he of 200 MLB starts and led the majors in games started (33) in 2017 for the Brewers. Kind of a cool opponent, like two ships passing in the night. If Skenes had the career of Davies he could never be labeled a “bust.”

But he sure looks to be a helluva a lot better.

Skenes K’d two of the first three batters and from there he was completely dominant.

Over 4.1 innings he struck out 7 Chasers. And not career-minor leaguers like Razor Shines. Young Royals prospects Nick Pratto, Drew Waters, Nick Loftin, Nate Eaton all went down swinging to the 21-year-old.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Nate Eaton’s single drove in CJ Alexander and Skenes gave up his first earned run in five starts and 30+ innings. Then he struck out the next two batters.

It isn’t just that he is overpowering (see the 100 MPH in the video above) but his control is awesome.

Skenes has five pitches:

Fastball (he leads MiLB in most pitches 100+ MPH by a wide margin)

To sit directly behind homeplate I really got a feel for how different each of these pitches look. The movement and change in speeds is awesome.

And as my buddy Mike noticed during the game, his arm slotting make it hard to have an idea/guess what pitch is coming.

BTW would you ever say that to another dude in-person? “Dude, your arm slot is awesome.”

The four and 1/3rd he completed on the day were the most of his Triple-A career and first time he has been allowed to pitch into the 5th inning.

You can see the Pirates gradually ramping up his workload:

3 innings, 46 pitches
3 innings, 44 pitches
3 1/3 innings, 55 pitches
3 1/3 innings, 65 pitches
4 1/3 innings, 71 pitches

Will the Pirates call Skenes up this season?

There is no reason they shouldn’t, especially because they are competitive and Skenes would nicely round out all the other young arms (Jared Jones, Mitch Keller, Bailey Falter) on the staff.

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