BRADENTON, Fla. - The Pirates have a pretty set routine when it comes to the prep pitchers they draft. Those pitchers spend half a season in the GCL after signing. They go to extended Spring Training and then Bristol the following year for their first full pro season. Then, if they are developed enough, they go to West Virginia for a full season, always ending the season at the level.

Well, almost always. That trend ended last year with Mitch Keller, who made the jump to Bradenton at the end of the season, and helped lead the Marauders to a Florida State League championship in the playoffs. Keller had a huge breakout season in 2016, showing improvements with his command, his velocity, his changeup, and other areas of his game. The result was that he averages as a top 30 prospect in all ...

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