Pittsburgh Pirates News: Mitch Keller Named Opening Day Starter

Pittsburgh Pirates v New York Mets
Pittsburgh Pirates v New York Mets / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Pirates saw one of their former top prospects take a significant step forward in terms of performance last season. Now he will get the ball on Opening Day.

Mitch Keller, the talented young pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, has established himself as one of the team's top starters heading into the 2023 season. After a breakout campaign in 2022 that saw him emerge as a reliable innings-eater with a dominant second half, Keller is poised to take on an even larger role in the Pirates' rotation this year.

In fact, he has been named the team's Opening Day starter, a clear indication of the confidence that the Pirates have in his abilities. With his mix of electric stuff and the progress he made last season Keller could be in for a big year. Of course, it will be vital for him to have a better start to the season than he did last year.

Mitch Keller had a breakout season in 2022, despite his record of 5-12 and ERA of 3.91, with 159 innings pitched. Keller's season was a tale of two halves, with a strong second half that showcased his true potential as a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Keller struggled early in the season, with a 5.96 ERA over his first 15 starts. He was plagued by inconsistency and struggled with his command, leading to a high number of walks and home runs allowed. However, Keller showed resilience and a strong work ethic, continuing to work on his mechanics and mental approach to the game.

In the second half of the season, Keller turned a corner and began to dominate on the mound. Over his final 14 starts, he posted a 3.09 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 81 innings pitched. He was able to locate his pitches more effectively, resulting in fewer walks and fewer home runs allowed. Keller also showed an ability to pitch deep into games, logging six or more innings in 11 of those 14 starts.

Keller's improved performance in the second half of the season was a testament to his perseverance and determination to succeed at the highest level. He continued to work closely with his coaches and support staff to fine-tune his mechanics and mental approach, and it paid off with improved results on the field.

Looking ahead, Keller's breakout season in 2022 provides a strong foundation for him to build upon in the coming years. If he can continue to refine his command and stay healthy, he has the potential to become one of the top young pitchers in the game. His strong second half in 2022 suggests that he is already well on his way.