After a stellar showing in the Pirates’ win over the Cubs on Tuesday, Mitch Keller showed that he has the potential for stardom.
Entering the season, Mitch Keller was considered the Pittsburgh Pirates best prospect after standing out in the minors. Since being called up in May, however, Keller has been walloped to the tune of a 7.13 ERA, knocking some shine off the highly-touted pitching prospect. With that said, Keller has shown signs of life, particularly in his previous two starts. In giving up just three runs while striking out 14 batters over his last ten innings of work, Keller has displayed star potential despite a tough season.
A second-round pick back in 2014, Keller has shown flashes of dominance, especially in the minors. Throughout his minor league career, Keller maintained a 3.12 ERA while throwing 566 strikeouts over a total of 539.1 innings. That ability to make batters miss is what makes Keller so promising. It may not have translated to production earlier this season, but as he’s shown recently, this guy is starting to figure out how to fan Major League batters. Despite ending his season with an ugly ERA, the Pirates and Keller can take some comfort in knowing the statistics don’t tell the full story of his development.
Against the Cubs on Tuesday, it was clear how far Keller has come. Sure, Chicago has been among the most disappointing teams in the league, but their lineup still has plenty of talent. Keller, however, didn’t flinch, giving up just one run in his seven innings. Unfortunately, because the Pirates are a dumpster-fire of an offense, he had to settle for a no-decision, but he played well enough to win. That’s something that can’t be said about most Pirates’ pitching performances.
What’s clear is that, despite his ugly ERA and a slow start in the majors, Mitch Keller still has the potential to become the star the Pirates so desperately need. With his ability to make batters miss and the Pirates need for a true ace in their pitching staff, Keller should be with this team for the long-haul.