Projecting the long-term outlook for the Pirates after the Mitch Keller extension

What will Pittsburgh's roster look like as Keller wraps up his new deal in 2028?

Sep 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller (23) throws
Sep 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller (23) throws / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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No. 2 - Promising Pirates

Of course, we’ll start with Paul Skenes, who has the makings of a generational talent and is the current best pitching prospect in baseball. If Skenes makes his debut in 2024, which he seems on track to do, he will likely be around his first year or so of arbitration eligibility in 2028. Imagine a rotation that features Skenes and Keller as 1-2. If any of the other budding Pirate arms (Bubba Chandler, Jared Jones, Anthony Solometo) reaches his ceiling, the Pirates would have a solid front three that could be supplemented with trades or free-agent signings.

On the position player front, things seem much less promising. Second baseman Termarr Johnson is the only Top 100 position prospect in the Pirates’ system, and he likely won’t make it to the Majors until at least next year, if not later. Pittsburgh, though, could extend Oneil Cruz and provide a little bit more security for the future. The investment in Henry Davis at catcher this season may also play a significant role in how the Pirates approach the next several years.

The Pirates hold the No. 9 selection in the 2024 MLB Draft, a slot that could feature several available outfielders. Pittsburgh has a spotty record with player development, particularly on the position player side, and a player with natural power-speed, such as Northeastern’s Mike Sirota, could work his way successfully through the system.