Pittsburgh Pirates: Mitch Keller Continues To Be A Mixed Bag

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 04: Mitch Keller #23 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Miami Marlins at PNC Park on June 4, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 04: Mitch Keller #23 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Miami Marlins at PNC Park on June 4, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates former top prospect has continued to pitch to a mixed bag of results in the minor leagues.

When Mitch Keller debuted in 2019 he was the next top Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect, following guys like Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Tyler Glasnow. The hope was that unlike the other three, Keller would develop to be that top prospect in Pittsburgh. He struggled with a 7.13 ERA. After the season, Neal Huntington was fired and a bigger emphasis on player development was brought in with Ben Cherington.

Keller continued to struggle. In 2020 he walked more batters than he struck out. This season, he posted a 7.04 ERA for the Pittsburgh Pirates before being demoted to Triple-A Indianapolis. For the Indians, he has a 3.21 ERA and 3.01 FIP but has a walk rate of 10.2 percent. As we’ve covered here at Rum Bunter, Keller’s stuff significantly regressed. One thing this front office cares about is spin rate. Keller’s spin rates are nothing spectacular and have actually dropped by a wide margin since 2019. He needs improved stuff to be that top of the rotation type arm he was was projected to be.

Over the weekend, he continued to show a mixed bag of results. He last just five innings and allowed six runs, four earned. He allows seven hits and walked three but he struck out nine. This has been a theme with Keller in the last three years. He has shown glimpses of success but also has struggled with it. Consistency of his stuff and command isn’t always there.

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Overall, Keller has been better since being demoted but still showing mixed results. He’s walking 10 percent of batters but is striking out more. In his last start he has continued to show these inconsistencies and why he’s in Triple A. Keller is progressing but more work is needed.

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