Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Keller and Holmes Dominate

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates saw two of their top pitching prospects head to the mound on back to back days.  Mitch Keller and Clay Holmes were dominant in their minor league starts.

Last night, the Pittsburgh Pirates top pitching prospect Mitch Keller made his home début for the Altoona Curve.  Keller, who has now made two starts for the Curve, was very impressive in his first start at Peoples Natural Gas Field. The right-handed starter took the mound against the Trenton Thunder of the New York Yankees’ organization.  In fact, Keller has faced Trenton in both starts that he has made in Double-A thus far.

Last night Keller threw six innings and gave up two earned runs.  More impressively, he did not walk a single batter and he struck out nine.  According to reports, Keller was fanning most batters on a curveball that is showing to be his best secondary offering.  His fastball is his best pitch and it was sitting in the mid-90s most of the game.

Keller also threw six innings of two run ball against Trenton in his first Double-A start.  In that game, he only struck out four and walked three.  It really is a positive sign to see Keller made adjustments to Trenton’s lineup, and make an even better start the second time around.  It also is impressive to see that Trenton was not able to adjust to Keller.  This shows that the top pitching prospect does a good job of mixing and commanding his pitches.

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For as dominant as Mitch Keller was last night, Clay Holmes may have been even better today. Holmes threw five innings for Triple-A Indianapolis, as they took on the Syracuse Chiefs of the Nationals’ organization. In those five innings, Holmes did not yield a run, but even more impressive was that he did not give up a hit either.  He also struck out four batters and only walked one.  The big right hander is now 9-5 on the season, and he has lowered his ERA to 3.26.  Holmes is one of many arms in Triple-A making a case to get called up to the majors sooner than later.