Paul Skenes of LSU pitches during the fifth inning against the Wake Forest at Charles Schwab Field on June 22, 2023 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The No. 1 pick in the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft, starting pitcher Paul Skenes, was promoted in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization to the Double-A Altoona Curve from Low-A Bradenton on Monday.
Skenes, 21, born in Fullerton, California, signed contract with a $9.2 million bonus on July 18, just nine days after he was drafted. Skenes’ contract is the largest in the bonus pool era since 2012.
Skenes had three starts between the complex level and Low-A Bradenton, with all outings resulting in a no decision. He has only allowed one hit in four innings, and notched five strikeouts while facing 14 batters, producing a 0.250 WHIP.
Skenes was up to 98 mph on his fastball four times during Sunday’s start against Low-A Lakeland, and threw a total of 28 pitches, of which 19 went for strikes.
During his three collegiate seasons, Skenes went 23-6 with a 2.18 ERA in 52 games, making 34 starts and earning 11 saves over 235 innings, allowing 162 hits, 57 earned runs, 14 home runs, 59 walks, and striking out 335 batters with a 0.940 WHIP.
In his junior season, Skenes helped Louisiana State University win their seventh national title and was second in the nation last season in ERA at 1.69, first in WHIP at .75, first in strikeouts with 209, and first in strikeouts-per-nine-innings at 15.33.
The Pittsburgh Pirates received the first overall pick of the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft in the first-ever MLB Draft Lottery during the 2022 Winter Meetings in San Diego.
The Pirates and the Washington Nationals were two of the three that had the best odds to get the No. 1 overall pick, along with the Oakland Athletics. Those three teams had the worst records during the 2022 regular season.
Skenes is slated to start on Saturday against Akron at home at 6 p.m. EDT. The game will be streamed live on MiLB.com with a paid subscription. The Altoona Curve open up their six-game home series against the fifth place (21-24) Akron RubberDucks of the Eastern League’s Southwest Division at 6 p.m. EDT.
The last-place Altoona Curve are 18-25 in the second half of the season, seven games back of the first place Erie Seawolves (26-19) in the Eastern League’s Southwest Division.