Paul Skenes May 11, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Paul Skenes (30) walks in from the bullpen to make his major league debut alongside catcher Yasmani Grandal (6) against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The most anticipated pitching prospect in nearly fifteen years took the mound on Saturday. Paul Skenes showed precisely why so many scouts have raved over him as the 2023 MLB Draft’s No. 1 overall pick made his big league debut.

Skenes, a rocket-armed prospect out of LSU, accelerated through the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system. Fans wanted to see Skenes when the new season turned over. They didn’t have to wait long, as on just May 11, the team called him up for his first MLB start.

It doesn’t seem like he’ll need to tinker with too much.

Making his first career start, Skenes faced the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have had a terrific year thus far and stand in second place in the National League Central Division. So it’s not like Skenes was facing low-end competition. It didn’t intimidate him, though, as the terrific right-hander pitched very well in his rookie debut.

Skenes earned seven strikeouts against Cub hitters as he met the moment and flashed his flamethrower arm. During his Saturday afternoon outing in Pittsburgh, Skenes topped 100 mph 17 times. In fact, he hit that mark as he struck out the first batter he faced.

Skenes made his debut in front of his girlfriend, Livvy Dunne, a popular gymnast who also attends LSU. He eventually ran out of gas after just four innings of work, but they were an electrifying four innings.

The Buccos gave him plenty of run support but relinquished their lead after Skenes departed. Chicago and Pittsburgh are currently tied 6-6 in an ongoing rain delay.

But the story of the day was Skenes, and the former top pick had everyone talking.

[Pittsburgh Pirates]

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022