Pittsburgh Pirates: Is Mitch Keller Coming Up?

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates look to be shaking up their rotation going into this weekend.  Are they going to call up their top pitching prospect?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have some good news coming their way.  Right-handed starter Chris Archer is finally coming off the injury list and is joining the rotation.  The former Tampa Bay Ray was dealing with a thumb issue on his throwing hand that plagued him his last couple starts.  He is supposed to start tonight against the Diamondbacks.

This still leaves a spot in the rotation.  The other injured pitcher Jameson Taillon, has just recently been moved to the 60-Day Injury List, meaning he will not be back for a while.  This leaves a rotation spot for either Nick Kingham or Steven Brault to fill into, if not possibly both.

However, there may be something else going on.  When asked about the rotation going forward, Hurdle explained that it would go Chris Archer, Trevor Williams, and Jordan Lyles finishing on Friday.  Then it was called “to be announced” after that.  Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic tweeted that Hurdle said: “That’s what they call a teaser”.

This is a weird way of saying it.  What is Clint Hurdle teasing?  Last time this sort of statement was put out was when Cole Tucker was called up.  The team and reporters around the team said that there was something about to happen that would excite fans and the move was to promote the team’s top shortstop prospect.

Could Hurdle be teasing that top pitching prospect Mitch Keller could be making his début this weekend?  Keller threw last night and had another solid start.  He struck out eight batters in six innings while only allowing two runs.  The former second-round pick has had a bit of an up and down year but has had more good starts than poor starts.

With Keller starting last night, he would be slotted in to make his next start on Sunday.  The Pittsburgh Pirates will be on the road in San Diego, which is a great place for a pitcher to make his début. While some question whether Keller is ready for the big leagues based on his up and down year, the one thing that matters is that he is the Bucs best option going forward.

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The team cannot continue to troop out the likes of Steven Brault and Nick Kingham and have them have poor, short outings.  If anything else, Keller should eat innings and give the team the best chance to win.