Sunday, May 12, 2024

Paul Bearers


Not sure if any of you heard, but Paul Skenes made his debut yesterday. It, uh...certainly went.

Y'want the big #1 draft pick's line for his debut? 4 innings, 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks...7 strikeouts. He begins his career with a 6.75 ERA, but considering his first start was against a very good Cubs team, and prior to this he was playing against triple-A teams with only a small portion of the talent of big league rosters, I think it's understandable. A lesser pitcher would not come off as dominant, or impressive, given that line. Paul Skenes is not a lesser pitcher. Of the three #1 overall picks who have debuted this year, even with this small sample size, Skenes is still the strongest of the three, despite being the most recent draft pick of the three. Plus, the Pirates ended up winning the game, despite a very tense back-and-forth between offenses.

So what I'm saying is...Paul Skenes may have been the difference between a Pirates win and a Pirates loss. And if that's how things start, there's no indication that it's how they'll end.

The Pirates, to this point, have not been great. Nothing's really changed, but the schedule's evened out and they don't look like much compared to teams like the Red Sox, Giants and A's. Yet they can still take a few from division rivals like the Brewers. So they're able to provide upsets, but not as often as someone like the A's. The biggest criticism is there's just not a lot to this lineup. Reynolds and Hayes are great, but you're relying on bit players like Connor Joe and Michael Taylor at the moment, while homegrown guys like Oneil Cruz, Nick Gonzales and Jared Triolo are...getting there but not there yet. There's still way too many replacement guys in this lineup for them to be taken seriously, even if they formerly reigned supreme, like Rowdy Tellez, Yasmani Grandal and, yes, Andrew McCutchen, who's very human despite a strong game yesterday. The expectation was for Henry Davis to be great this year in Endy Rodriguez's absence. He is not.

The pitching is the sole thing keeping this team out of last. Skenes and Jones are a very powerful rookie duo now, but even aside from that, the veteran piecemeal strategy actually works here. Martin Perez is having another solid season in his mid 30s, with a 3.60 ERA and 36 Ks. Quinn Priester has actually become a decent low-rotation option, and could definitely could build on his early starts to make something happen. Same with Bailey Falter, who has seen some magic happen in certain starts. Mitch Keller's elevated ERA is concerning, but he's still got the right idea in terms of his mechanics. The bullpen's a little more bloated than it should be but Colin Holderman's still among the best in the biz, and David Bednar's been decent despite some slight injury setbacks. 

This is not a perfect team, and it's not a team that looks especially intimidating as it is right now. But this is the Pirates as Paul Skenes arrives. The hope is that he helps make this team something again, and as they are now they're extremely okay. Maybe soon enough they won't be.

Coming Tonight: So get this. He's a relief pitcher. But NO ONE CAN HIT HIM. They don't even get the chance!

No comments:

Post a Comment