Pirates Prospects Daily: Mitch Keller Getting the Opening Day Nod is a Great Baseball Story

Mitch Keller is a fantastic baseball story, although it might stretch even further out than just the sport.

A former second round pick, turned into one of the top pitching prospects in the game, before struggling to translate that success at the major league level. Then mid-season transforming into an almost completely as a pitcher and finally establishing himself as a legitimate major league pitcher.

Now he will be the Opening Day starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates when they get the 2023 regular season underway.

Baseball is the ultimate game of adjustments, of constant problem solving. I may not be the smartest person in a given room, but I love to problem solve, and I think that’s what made me so great in sales. 

You have a problem? I’m going to find the perfect solution for you (and pad a little extra money in my pocket in the process).

Keller had a major problem. After a lot of problem solving, he figured it out, and is now set up for a breakout 2023 season.

It’s the moments that you live for following this game.

Carmen Mlodzinski, Reliever?

Something a little different transpired in the Pirates game on Wednesday. Usually you map out the pitchers to have your starters come into a spring training game at the start of an inning, to make it feel as much like their own game as possible.

Relievers will eventually get worked in the middle of an inning to also give them a regular season feel to spring.

So what does that say for Carmen Mlodzinski, who came in the middle of the fifth inning after JT Brubaker reached his pitch limit?

Mlodzinski is having one of the best springs by any of the pitchers, but the Indianapolis rotation picture is incredibly crowded right now, and could get even more so should they have Johan Oviedo start there as well.

After throwing over 100 innings in Altoona last year, it wouldn’t seem like the best development plan to start him there again, so does that mean the bullpen is the next step?

Apparently Mlodzinski doesn’t know for sure either. Getting a look how he handles coming in the middle of an inning and how he responded could have been a test by the Pirates. With an abundance of starting options in the upper levels, his most direct path to the majors could be out of the bullpen.

If the spring is any indication what he might be in shorter stints, that makes him an even more intriguing name to watch going forward.

Swing And Miss Concerns Continue

Brubaker ended up allowing four runs in 4.1 innings but I am far less concerned about that than the continued swing and miss problem going on with the Pirates’ bats.

They punched out 15 times against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, and missed on 30-of-75 swings (40%) overall. The strikeout totals jumped them into the top ten in the category as a team, with 177 in 19 games. 

Pirates Prospects Daily

By John Dreker

Anthony Murphy had a couple in depth prospect articles that dropped late last night. Here are the links, along with everything else going on yesterday

**Mike Burrows’ Slider is Showing Good Spin Early in Camp

**Nick Gonzales is Driving Breaking Pitches in Spring Training Games

**Spring Training Recap: Blue Jays 7, Pirates 1

**Pirates Agree to Terms with 27 Pre-Arbitration Players

**Pirates DVR: Travis Swaggerty and Endy Rodriguez Two Hit Games, Canaan Smith-Njigba Home Run

**Pirates Prospects Daily: Endy Rodriguez And Mike Burrows Impress In Major League Camp

**World Baseball Classic Recap: Roansy Contreras and Luis Ortiz Throw Shutout Ball

Song of the Day

Tonight’s Lineup

Road game tonight vs the New York Yankees. 6:35 PM start

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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Love this player. Had a chance to meet him and he’s a class man as well as a great pitcher. To say he’s overcome adversity and turn it all around is putting it lightly. The organization needs a attaboy for sticking with him when maybe others would have moved on. Congratulations to you Mitch now go win us some games.


Last year at this time most of what’s left of this fan base wanted Keller to be sent packing. Just another in a long line of disappointing prospects who failed to live up to expectations. Now he’s a bonafide TOR SP, at least for this franchise.

Happy for Mitch. Hope he continues to develop into one of the best Pitchers in the division, if not the entire league.


Murph, I read a few days ago that Dariel Lopez is out for the year, have you heard anything?


Wow , had not heard that. He was definitely one to follow in minor league box scores. A year is a long time (stay tuned for more insightful comments from me).

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