Mitch Keller is the number one prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and today the team is calling him up to start game number two of a doubleheader against the Reds.
Overall the Pirates have been below average this season with the pitching staff as a whole and while calling Keller up isn’t going to solve any issues they’ve had with the bullpen so far this season, he should have a good chance to help out the starting staff that ranks in the lower-half of the league.
What has scouts and the Pirates so high on Keller is his ability to throw with very good velocity while also having good sink on his fastball, which leads to him getting a lot of ground ball outs and keeping the ball in the ballpark the majority of the time, which is something that should play very well if he is going to pitch in PNC Park where it favors the hitters down the line.
One thing that could be a possible concern regarding Keller is his walk rate did increase when he got bumped up to triple-a and so far this season his walks per nine innings is exactly the same in triple-a as it was last season, but he has increased his strikeouts per nine innings this season. He is also giving up fewer hits per nine innings so despite walking people at the same rate he has been striking out hitters at a better rate and giving up hits at a lower rate.
Pittsburgh really needs a shot in the arm when it comes to the pitching staff though and bringing up Keller to make his major league debut seems like the right move to make because he has been very good in the minors overall and he has spent his whole career in the minors since being drafted in 2014 so he probably won’t improve much more in the minors and it’s probably best to just bring him up and see how he performs at the top level.
Even though he is being brought up to start a game in a doubleheader, it’s my opinion that he should just be brought up permanently because of the state of the Pirates pitching staff and he is their top prospect and they should just let him do his thing in the big leagues and see what he can do at that level.
Top Photo: Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette