Despite his struggles, in his MLB debut Pittsburgh Pirates top prospect Mitch Keller looked like a pitcher that belongs in the Majors
On Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent their Memorial Day playing a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds. After winning the first game 8-4, the team was defeated in the second game by a score of 8-1. In the loss, top pitching prospect Mitch Keller made his MLB debut.
The 1st inning could not have gone worse for Keller. He issued two walks, allowed a grand slam to Jose Iglesias, faced 11 batters, and found he and the Pirates trialing 6-0 when the inning ended. However, to his credit, Keller settled in and finished the game strong.
Keller would go on to retire 10 of the final 11 batters he faced. During this stretch, he looked like one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.
His curveball was an absolute hammer and gave the Reds hitters fits. His fastball played, and the slider he has been working on flashed strong bite and looked like a plus pitching in the making. He was also able to use a good change up to keep hitters off balance.
He was able to effectively use his curveball early in counts to get ahead of hitters. The fastball was a pitch he was able to spot and raise up in the zone to work effectively. He was able to dissect hitters as the game progressed and flash his high ceiling.
When the dust settled, Keller had recorded seven strikeouts and generated plenty of swings and misses. Keller’s stuff was plenty good enough to play at the MLB level, and this showed with his dominant final 3 innings of work.
With the work Keller put in after a miserable start on Monday night, he has earned another shot to start. Right now the Pirate starting rotation is a mess. Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams are on the injured list, and Chris Archer is not pitching well. The rotation needs a boost, and of the options on the table Keller is most likely to provide a boost.
Keller’s stuff is more than good enough to play at the MLB level. His stuff is also light years better than Nick Kingham and Steven Brault. For these reasons, Keller has earned another start for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In the long run, Keller is going to be a big part of the Pirate starting rotation. He also needs to be part of the rotation in the now. Despite a poor 1st inning in his MLB debut on Monday, Keller finished the game with 3 dominant innings. With this showing he has earned the right to remain in the Pirate starting rotation.