The Pittsburgh Pirates are in dire need of starting rotation help. They have help sitting in the rotation at Triple-A. Yet, they will not promote said help.
62 games into the 2019 season the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation has been beleaguered with injuries and ineffectiveness. The latest example of this came in the form of a poor start from Rookie Davis in Milwaukee on Friday night.
Also on Friday night, top pitching prospect Mitch Keller made his 11th start of the season for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. In 5 innings of work, Keller allowed just one hit, he walked three, and struck out 13. Folks, that’s pretty darn good. It is also something that the Pirates could have used on Friday night at Miller Park.
Keller now owns a 3.10 ERA in 58 innings pitched for the Indians this season. He owns a 30.2% strikeout rate, 10.2% walk rate, and he has allowed just five home runs. He has also limited opposing batters to just 51 hits this season. To boot, he’s developed a slider as well.
More than just his Triple-A stats indicate as much, too. In his lone MLB start this season he retired 10 of the final 11 Reds that he faced. In 4 innings of work, he struck out seven batters. After allowing 6 runs in the 1st inning, he settled in to flash a wicked curveball, power fastball, and a good looking slider.
Despite sitting two games under .500 at 30-32, the team remains just 3.5 games off the pace in the National League Wild Card race. Despite all of the injuries, the team is still in contention. They need to start operating like it, and that includes having Keller in the starting rotation. Not Rookie Davis. Not Nick Kingham. Not Steven Brault. Mitch Keller.
Having Keller at Triple-A is flat out inexcusable. This team is in dire need of starting pitching help, and of the internal options Keller is the most likely to provide said help. His ceiling is higher than most pitchers, and is certainly higher than the team’s other options. Keller is also a big part of the Pirate future, which is even more reason to let him begin to get his feet wet at the MLB level.
The Pirates are starting to get healthy. Corey Dickerson and Jung Ho Kang will both be activated off the injured list on Saturday. Trevor Williams will throw a simulated game on Saturday, and if it goes well he could be back sooner than later. Jameson Taillon has started working out in Bradenton.
Right now, the team just needs to keep treading water and lingering around until they get injured players back. The best way for the Pirates to do this is to have Keller in their starting rotation. Because, in case you did not know, he is really good.