Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



The Pirates chose RHP Paul Skenes of LSU with the first pick of this year’s amateur draft. Big-time talent. His fastball has hit 103 mph. His slider is in the upper 80s. Skenes was said to be “MLB ready.” 

Turns out he’s not even Class AA ready. 

Skenes made his Class AA debut at the Pirates’ Altoona affiliate this past Saturday. Over 10k showed up, a franchise record. Most of those in attendance got hits off Skenes. 

That’s a slight exaggeration. But Skenes got lit up: Three hits, two walks, two strikeouts and four earned runs in just 2/3rds of an inning. Skenes too often threw right in the middle of the strike zone, where it doesn’t matter what your mph is. 

It would be fun to panic, but I’m not going to. Every pitcher has the occasional bad outing, even those most promising. 

But I sincerely believe the Pirates will ruin Skenes. Perhaps this was the first chapter in the journey to ultimate failure. I can’t specify, but everything the Pirates touch turns to excrement. Fecal matter is in their DNA. 

I wonder how many Pirates fanboy nerds traveled to Altoona to see Skenes get rocked. The whole crowd was probably Bucco bloggers. Uncredentialed, of course.

2023 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship

Photo: Jay Biggerstaff / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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