Pirates’ Paul Skenes Makes MLB Debut, Showing Immediate Impact For Pittsburgh

After he was selected first overall in 2023 by the Pittsburgh Pirates, the question of when we would see right-hander Paul Skenes take the mound came about. Skenes put himself into position to be taken first overall by Pittsburgh after an incredibly dominant season with the LSU Tigers last year that resulted in them winning the National Championship. He went 13-2 over 19 games played, posting an ERA of 1.69. Skenes also struck out 209 batters over 122.2 innings of work, showing his incredible ability to make opponents swing and miss.

Well, we didn’t have to wait very long to see him be called up to the major leagues, as Skenes made sure that his stay in the minors was only a formality.

Paul Skenes
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – MAY 11: Paul Skenes #30 of the Pittsburgh Pirates walks to the bullpen to warmup before making his major league debut during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on…

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Skenes showed what he could do from the jump, posting some insane numbers in his minor-league starts. In seven Triple-A starts, Skenes posted an ERA of 0.99, while striking out 45 batters over 27.1 innings of work. The anticipation of his MLB debut was something like the build-up to a prestige movie release, with everyone waiting to see the impact he could have on a big league mound.

Skenes made his debut on May 11 against the Chicago Cubs in front of the PNC Park faithful, giving him a chance to give the home fans a treat. He didn’t disappoint at all.

Against the first batter of his big league career, Skenes made things look easy, striking him out on a 101 mph pitch.

Skenes followed that up by striking out the second batter he faced.

He even reached up to 102 mph in the first inning of his debut:

Skenes finished his MLB debut, going four innings of work allowing two walks, three earned runs, and seven strikeouts. When he exited the game, he had left two runners on base and the Pirates bullpen couldn’t keep them off the board. He received a standing ovation from the Pittsburgh faithful following an electric MLB start.

The Pirates have been very up and down again this season, with fans being cautiously optimistic that Skenes can be part of the winning solution. Pittsburgh currently sits near the bottom of the NL Central division and has shown mixed signs of life. This team hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2015 so fans excitement may be a little tempered.

However, Skenes does have the feel of a future ace in this league and the Pirates are banking on his success. Skenes has all the making of a true superstar in this league and he has already made an immediate impact on the Pirates. While this was only one start, the black and gold have to be feeling good about him. Fans in Pittsburgh have come to know disappointment over the years with the Pirates, but Skenes has a unique ability to bring a winning culture with him wherever he goes. His first start is now in the books and the future is extremely bright for the Bucs.