Major League Baseball announced its pitchers and reserves for the 2023 MLB All-Star Game Sunday evening and, as of now, only one member of the Pittsburgh Pirates will head to Seattle for the Midsummer Classic. That being Mitch Keller.
Keller first heard the news from manager Derek Shelton following Sunday’s game against Milwaukee, and he had his teammates with him to celebrate:
When all the hard work pays off pic.twitter.com/1AU4YlB6ZU— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) July 2, 2023
Keller earned his first career All-Star nomination, and he will be the 10th Iowa-born player selected to the All-Star Game.
After years of trial, which included a demotion to Triple A at one point, Keller is finally getting a taste of triumph. He’s having his best season since 2020, boasting a 9-3 record, a 3.34 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 118 strikeouts through 17 games.
Across MLB, Keller leads in strikeouts looking (47), tied for third in wins, tied for sixth in strikeouts, 17th in batting average against (.223), and tied for seventh in quality starts (11).
With his record, Keller became the first Pirates pitcher to reach nine wins prior to the All-Star break since Ivan Nova in 2017. He was also the first in several years to pitch a complete-game shutout, which he did on May 8.
Complete Game Shutout for Mitch Keller— Barstool Baseball (@StoolBaseball) May 9, 2023
RAISE IT pic.twitter.com/e4Cw2mm8wv
For Pirates fans, Keller’s dominant season was almost guaranteed after he turned things around in late 2022. Prior to last year’s break, Keller had a 4.55 ERA, a 1.46 WHIP and 19.8 strikeout rate. In the latter half of the season, all three areas improved.
Meanwhile, in 2021, Keller hit rock bottom, going 5-11 with a 6.17 ERA in a little more than 100 innings.
Many expected Keller’s teammate, David Bednar, to join him in Seattle, however he was left off the roster... for now. It’s a tough blow to one of the best relievers in baseball, but he will most likely be one of the fill-ins for those opting out of the game. Others who fans wanted in but were left off were outfielders Andrew McCutchen and Jack Suwinski.
The All-Star Game will be July 11 at 8 p.m.