How Mitch Keller’s New Sinker Complements His Other Pitches

ST. PETERSBURG - Mitch Keller never threw a sinker in the minors, despite coming up during a time when seemingly every Pirates pitching prospect was getting a two-seamer pushed their way.

"The mentality in the minor leagues for us coming up was fastballs down," said Keller.

Keller had the ability to throw his four-seam fastball down in the zone, and it got good results in the lower levels. The Pirates typically gave a pitcher a two-seam fastball if he had issues keeping the fastball in the bottom of the zone. The problem was that the Pirates weren't focusing that pitch on the top of the zone.

"There was never a time when we were trying to throw four seam fastballs up," said Keller. "That kind of changed when Oscar [Marin] and the new coaches came in."

Marin, who has been the Pi...

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redwards60

His ERA is over 5 and he has shown little if any improvement. Keller isn’t Tom Seaver…..more like Kip Wells actually.

kja1970

He’s moved to the category where he could be a playoff starting pitcher

Now they need 3 more of them

RAS TN

Find it this year or don’t let the door hit you from behind…

ricramer

Definitely reason for optimism.

NMR

Pulling for this kid so hard.

skliesen

Pirates need him to find another gear. Just don’t believe it will happen. Hopefully I’m wrong…again.

roberto

I hope you are too. Remember, optimists are happier and live longer.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I hope he flips a permanent switch, cause he looks like a premier case of changes organizations and goes on a tear.

MVParker

Tim – did Keller just not think about pitch pairings (tunneling ?) before this season? This revelation with the 2 seamer is great, but I wonder why it took this long. And Keller had 2 prior seasons with the new pitching coach, right? So it’s not some drastically different approach this season, I assume. I’m not being critical. I’m just trying to understand the complexities beneath the surface, how the approach has evolved since 2020, and how hard this is to figure out in real life.

MVParker

Separate question: why is this a make or break year for Keller? High upside arms don’t grow on trees. The only way to get an ace on a budget is to develop them. I don’t see why the Bucs wouldn’t give Keller every shot to figure it out until they actually are competing for the postseason.

And even then if Keller ends up being a competent starter but nothing more, that’s nothing to shake a stick at… and certainly a valuable asset for a contending team.

skliesen

Yeah, we’ve seen that movie one too many times.

ArkyWags

Let’s see how he does the rest of the season. My expectations for him coming into this year couldn’t have been lower. If we see much more like the last two starts, I don’t think anything has changed.

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