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Pirates select RHP Paul Skenes with first pick of 2023 MLB Draft

The fireballer is coming to the Burgh!


Say it with me now: Let’s Geaux Bucs!

The Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off the 2023 MLB Draft by taking LSU right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes first overall.

The 2023 National Player of the Year was linked to the Pirates for months, and given his comparisons to former top arms, General Manager Ben Cherington made sure not to pass on him.

Skenes went 12-2 for the national champion Tigers this year. He also led Division I in strikeouts with 209 and came in second in ERA (1.69). In his career, which includes two seasons at Air Force, Skenes went 23-6 with a collective 2.18 ERA.

At Air Force, he was a two-way player, a trait Cherington has sought after in recent years.

Skenes’ stats weren’t the only things that wowed fans. What caught everyone’s eye was his ability to consistetly hit 100+ miles per hour on his fastball while buckling hitters with his off-speed arsenal, which consists of a two-seam fastball, changeup, curveball and slider.

Skenes has garnered comparisons to former top picks Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole.

One area of concern, though, was his overuse from this season. Fans believe Tommy John Surgery could be in his future given the workload, but that is a big “if”. Despite this scare, Pirates fans seemed to think Skenes was the pick, given the results of our Twitter poll.

Other notable choices linked to Pittsburgh were his teammate, outfielder Dylan Crews; Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford; and high schoolers Walker Jenkins and Max Clark.

Given his age, Skenes could take a Henry Davis-esque route if he and the Pirates agree on a contract. He could possibly start this year in either the Florida Coast League or Low-A Bradenton.

Welcome to Pittsburgh, Paul!