The Pittsburgh Pirates saw Mitch Keller take a much-needed step in 2023. If you follow the Pittsburgh Pirates then you know how the trajectory of the former top-100 prospect has gone. It looked as if the right-handed starter would be a bust in terms of being a starting pitcher. Keller boasted an ERA north of 6 in 2021.
However, Keller seemed to start to figure things out in 2022. While the start of that season was rocky, Keller finally started to settle in and ended the year with a 3.91 ERA. A big step for the pitcher, but one that fans were unsure of whether or not to truly believe.
The best thing that came from Mitch Keller's 2023 season was the fact that he nearly repeated how he performed last year. The reason I say "what came from" is because Mitch Keller will not make another start this season. Keller was originally scheduled to pitch this Saturday, but instead, the Pittsburgh Pirates have decided to shut him down. Jason Mackey tweeted:
Keller will end the year eating up 194.1 innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Compared to his 2022 in which he threw 159 innings. His ERA for the year is at 4.21, slightly higher but still solid. Keller had a tough time getting on track after his All-Star game. Keller's ERA in the month of July was over 6, and some started to wonder if he was regressing back to the old Mitch.
He settled down the rest of the year, but still was clearly more dominant in the first half. The question is whether or not he is okay. Keller threw a lot of innings this year compared to his career. Naturally, his arm is not used to throwing that many innings which definitely could be why we saw his numbers elevate in the second half. That is okay, that is all part of any pitcher's development as they accumulate higher inning totals. Keller was seen in his last start shaking his arm and looking in some discomfort, shutting him down is the right thing to do.