Future, soon to be present on display with Thursday's Pirate battery

Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles
Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

A potential long-term battery duo that fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates can get very excited over was on display in Thursday's Grapefruit League action

One of the oldest sayings in baseball is that you are only as good as your next day's starting pitcher. Well, for the Pittsburgh Pirates, on Thursday afternoon in Sarasota that starting pitcher was Paul Skenes. The highly touted righty was pitching to Henry Davis. Both Skenes and Davis are players Pirate fans should be very excited about moving forward.

Just look at their pedigree. Skenes was drafted no. 1 overall by the Pirates last summer. Meanwhile, the Bucs selected Davis no. 1 overall in the 2021 MLB Draft. Both of these players flashed while being in the starting lineup for the Pirates against the Orioles in their Grapefruit League game on Thursday.

Prior to the game, fans were buzzing about Skenes making his Grapefruit League debut. In fact, much of the baseball world was. To his credit, Skenes did not disappoint the Pirates, Pirate fans, or baseball fans.

The day was not a long one for Skenes. He only pitched the 1st inning, but part of what made his day a quick one is that he needed just 10 pitches to retire the Orioles in order. This included Skenes looking very impressive in the process, including touching 102 MPH on the radar gun, as well as winning the battle of former no. 1 overall picks when he got Oriole mega prospect Jackson Holliday to ground out for the first out of the inning.

The impression made by Skenes adds to the list of young Pirate pitchers who have impressed this spring. Righty Luis Ortiz showed an explosive fastball and nasty sinker in his first Grapefruit League outing, the fastball velocity was back up for Roansy Contreras in his first outing, and Quinn Priester fired 2 scoreless innings on Tuesday afternoon.

Davis was on the receiving end of the pitches from Skenes. Another former no. 1 overall pick, Davis had an impressive day himself. He launched a 3-run home run, his 1st of the Grapefruit League season, off of former NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes in the top of the 1st inning.

The home run was part of am multi-hit day for Davis. This raises his OPS so far in Grapefruit League action to .969. If this is any sign of things to come from Davis this season, then he will be well on his way to the breakout offensive season that the Pirates are in dire need of.

Skenes will start the season in the minor leagues. Regardless if it is at Double-A Altoona or Triple-A Indianapolis, his time in the minors should not last long. By June at the latest, Skenes should be in the majors pitching to Davis. A battery of former no. 1 overall picks that should provide plenty of hope for Pirate fans both in the present and into the future.

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