Connect with us


Perrotto: Paul Skenes Experiences Learning Curve in First Spring Training



Paul Skenes, Pittsburgh Pirates

BRADENTON, Fla. – Paul Skenes has learned some valuable lessons in his first major-league spring training camp.

The biggest one is that big-league hitters are pretty good.

“You’ve got to be finer as a pitcher than in college,” said Skenes, who the Pittsburgh Pirates selected with the first overall selection in last year’s amateur draft after he led LSU to the College World Series title.

“Guys don’t chase (bad pitches). The swings that I got last year in college, I’m not getting now. So, I’m just pitching with kind of a different style and learning how to do that.”

Skenes has made a good impression in limited Grapefruit League action. In one start and one relief appearance, he has allowed one run – on a solo homer by the Tampa Bay Rays’ Amed Rosario – on three hits over three innings with three strikeouts and no walks.

However, Skenes is quick to point out that his success has come in a small sample size. Already informed that he will begin the season in the minor leagues, Skenes is trying to learn as much as he can during the time he has left with the big leaguers.

“It’s been just a cool opportunity to be around guys who’ve been in the big leagues for a little bit,” Skenes said Tuesday. “I understand that not all of pro ball is like major-league camp, so it’s nice to be around the guys I’ve been around who know about the pro game and the process and have been around it. I’m learning things from them and it’s just a cool opportunity all the way around.”

Skenes’ next outing is scheduled for Thursday night as part of Major League Baseball’s Spring Breakout Series at LECOM Park. A group of Pirates prospects will face a team of the top minor-leaguers in the Baltimore Orioles organization in a seven-inning game.

All 30 major-league organizations will participate in the Spring Breakout this week, which is designed to showcase baseball’s top prospects.

“The Orioles have a really good lineup and I’m excited to see how our farm system stacks up against them,” Skenes said.

Baltimore is considered to have the best farm system in the game. The Orioles also have the sport’s top prospect in infielder Jackson Holliday.

Holliday was the first selection in the 2022 amateur draft and squared off against Skenes on Feb. 29 in a Grapefruit League game in Sarasota, Fla. Skenes induced Holliday to ground out.

“Game planning against Jackson was hard,” Skenes said. “There are not a lot of ways to get him out. It’ll be cool to face him again.”

Among the other Pirates pitching prospects expected to see action on Thursday are left-hander Anthony Solometo and right-handers Braxton Ashcraft, Bubba Chandler and Thomas Harrington.

All four and Skenes are projected to make their major-league debuts by the end of next season. It seems almost certain that Skenes will pitch in the big leagues this year after beginning the season at either Triple-A Indianapolis or Double-A Altoona.

The Pirates resisted the urge to have Skenes make the opening-day roster after he pitched just 6.2 innings in his first season as a professional. They eased Skenes into action after he threw 122.2 innings for LSU last spring.

Skenes has enjoyed getting to know some of the Pirates’ other top prospects. They are already looking forward to pitching together in Pittsburgh.

“It’s something we’ve talked about,” Skenes said. “We talk about winning a lot, whether it’s winning in Double-A or Triple-A but obviously it’s most important to do it in the big leagues. That’s why I think it’s important to build those relationships now. That’s where it starts and that’s what is going to create winning at the big-league level for a long time.”

The Pirates are counting on Skenes to lead that group, giving him an MLB-record $9.2 million signing bonus. He is set on doing everything he can to deliver.

Subscribe Today!

Subscribe today!

PBN in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox.

Copyright © 2024 National Hockey Now. All rights reserved. In no way endorsed by the Pittsburgh Pirates or Major League Baseball.

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (PA/IL) or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN only) or 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA only) or 1-800-522-4700 (CO Only) or TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789.