Paul Skenes, the first overall pick in 2023, made his Double-A debut on Saturday. Things didn't go as well as they did at the lower levels. Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports Jul 18, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes, the Pirates first pick and overall number one pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, throws in the outfield before the game against the Cleveland Guardians at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Skenes has been on a fast track through the Minor Leagues since the Pittsburgh Pirates used the first overall selection in June’s MLB Draft on the LSU ace. After only three appearances at the lower levels, Skenes was promoted to Double-A, where he made his debut on Saturday.

It didn’t go quite as well.

Skenes and the Altoona Curve hosted the Akron RubberDucks, the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians. The Akron hitters generally got the better of the action. Skenes lasted only two-thirds of an inning and while he did strike out two hitters, he also allowed four runs (all earned) on three hits with two walks.

The poor outing got the attention of baseball fans.

Before getting called up to Double-A, Skenes had been fine at the Minor League level, albeit in a limited sample size. Heading into Saturday, he had thrown four innings, allowing no runs on only one hit with five strikeouts.

During the 2023 season at LSU, Skenes went 12-2 with a 1.69 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 209 strikeouts in 122.2 innings. That earned him the National and SEC Pitcher of the Year Awards, the Dick Howser Trophy and the College World Series Most Outstanding Player.

While Saturday’s outing certainly didn’t leave much to be encouraged about, Skenes is far from the first prospect to struggle early in his Double-A career.

[Milb Central]

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