Pirates Prospects Daily: Paul Skenes Will Start in Altoona on Saturday

This weekend, my long wait will be over. I’ll be in Altoona this week, and the weekend will provide an event I’ve been waiting on for months.

On Friday, the Air Jordan 38s release.

It’s already being called the best basketball shoe of the year, and in my opinion, is one of the best pairs of Jordan’s in years.

My only hope is that I don’t get botted out of a purchase. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some sort of system to ensure you get the best available?

If I miss out on those, my consolation will be seeing Paul Skenes making his debut with the Altoona Curve on Saturday night. This will be my first time watching Skenes live.

During the draft, I had him as the best available player, and felt the Pirates couldn’t afford to pass on his level of pitching talent.

The ideal weekend for me? Getting the best shoes of the year AND seeing the best player from the 2023 draft.

Fortunately, I already know the latter is guaranteed.

Anyone have any ideas on how to get the first round pick from Nike? Where do I line up in Altoona on Friday morning? Size 14 shoes sell out quick.


PIRATES (56-69) VS Cardinals

Score: Pirates 11, Cardinals 1
Pittsburgh Starter: Thomas Hatch, RHP (2.87)
–Line: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Bailey Falter, LHP (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 HR)
Attendance: 12,270

Notable Performers

  • Josh Palacios, RF (2-for-5, 2B, HR [5], 5 RBI)
  • Andrew McCutchen, DH (2-for-5)
  • Connor Joe, 1B (3-for-4, BB, 3 2B)
  • Endy Rodriguez, C (3-for-4, BB)
  • Alika Williams, SS (2-for-4, BB, 2B)

One Sentence Recap: This is how every game against the Cardinals should go.


Josh Palacios crushed this ball.


  • Henry Davis was placed on the 10-day injured list. The Pirates recalled Vinny Capra to take his place on the roster.
  • Paul Skenes was assigned to the Altoona Curve from Bradenton.



Quinn Priester returned to Triple-A and went four shutout innings in his first appearance back. He allowed four hits, three walks, and struck out six.


The Pirates signed 23-year-old outfielder Joe Perez to Altoona recently. He batted .400 with a 1.284 OPS this past week, hitting three homers in 27 plate appearances.


I was in Greensboro last week, and posted my scouting notes from the level. I’ll have features of the top prospects at the level this week.


Paul Skenes made two appearances with Bradenton this past week, allowing one hit, no runs, no walks, and striking out four.


Braylon Bishop hit his first home run of the season as the FCL Pirates won 7-2 against the Rays.


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Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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Tim, my friends & I are making the trip to Altoona Saturday night, I would love to buy you a beer & TY for the years of enjoyment your work has given me if possible.


Congrats & I’d still consider it an honor


Off-season moves: 2 SP’s, one reclamation one year deal and one 3 yr deal to anchor the rotation. Then get a power bat for first base and a center fielder. Then I’d let these young guys develop.


So let’s see…your three year deal is say an Andrew Heaney/Michael Lorenzen? A single year deal on…Luis Severino?
A 1B of Cron/Gallo, and CF of Bader/Taylor? If that were to come to fruition, you’re probably looking at about another 30 mil this off-season.


The more I think about why not go with hoskins (maybe cheaper off of injury), severino and Lorenzen. That’s probably $30M and then you got two legit starters and a power 1B.


I expect them to spend $30M this off-season and we are on the same page with the guys you identified. We will see if they do it, if they don’t then what is the point of this build?


Getting ahead of things here, but it appears the Pirates are setting things up to have Skenes on the Opening Day roster which gives them the chance of gaining a draft pick. If he’s in contention for ROY, though, we’d likely revisit the back-and-forth about position player value vs. pitcher value but now with all of us siding with pitching 🙂


Ooh boy. Not looking forward to this argument next year. They absolutely can’t lose out on a year of service with Skenes. I don’t think there’s any way they can bring him up Day One. Maybe I’ll be wrong but we will see.


Why is this a good argument? Why are some fans more worried about the 2029 and 2030 Pirates than the version in front of us? Do we have to continue punting and half punting seasons for this magical year of control that never really lends itself to anything worthwhile?

This isn’t to say that Skenes has nothing to work on. I think there are some valuable things to tinker with (his fastball, for one, some pundits seem to think may be more hittable than initially thought). But don’t make it about the years of control?


I mean as a baseball argument he’s obviously correct.

There’s zero rational argument behind the narrative that missing one start is equivalent to “punting” the entire season. Come on bro, just think about it a little.

Much, much less clear as a moral/ethical question which is really what you’re arguing to begin with.


I’m thinking about it a little, and I realize that holding him down through Easter (whenever that may be) isn’t punting a season. But isn’t there a case for putting your best team on the field? I’ve heard you make that argument about eleventy times.

The endless pearl clutching about years of control…I’ve just reached my limit on it. So as it applies to Skenes, honestly, I don’t really give a hoot about how his years of control affect the 2029 or 2030 Pirates. Hell if I want to get really cynical, he ain’t gonna be here the whole 6/7 years anyway.


I for sure hear you about the YOC clutching, no doubt.

From a baseball perspective, those comments of mine have been focused on Super2. In the rare occasions where it actually happens, holding down a no-doubt prospect fully baked in order to avoid Super2 is for sure a bad baseball move.

I bristle a bit with the “best team on the field” stuff when most of these dudes are one of the 25 best specifically on account of the org’s unwillingness to field real major leaguers.

Only in very rare Kris Bryant situations is service time manipulation truly blatant. More than anything it’s *us* who have adopted a more extreme manner of manipulating service time, it just happens to be in the player’s favor. This entire concept of fielding shitty players so that your top prospects can “develop in the show” with little upper level experience is a massive manipulation of when they will eventually hit free agency.


Easter is early next year so “holding him down through Easter” would mean calling him up on April 1… But (as I noted below) the tradeoff is 2-3 starts in 2024 vs a full year of control, which either means 30-some starts for a competitive 2030 team or significantly more trade value in the 2028-2029 offseason or at the 2029 trade deadline for a non-competitive team.


Let’s set aside the lie that he’ll be on the team in 2030 and making 30 starts. He’s gonna be gone before his full 6/7 years. Strikes me as pretty defeatist if we’re already thinking about his trade value, which means shit has really gone sideways.

All this being said, I certainly think there are legit reasons for him to stay down in the minors (chief among them, the potential fastball issues NMR has cited).


Let me see if I understand what you’re saying:

There’s a 0% chance he’ll be on the team in 2030 even if he’s still under team control.

Therefore, there’s a 100% chance he’ll be traded before or during 2030, even if he’s under control through the end of 2030.

However, thinking about whether he’ll need to be traded before the end of 2029 because that’s when he becomes a free agent, or how much value he’ll return if he’s traded before the end of 2029 based on how long the team trading for him will have him, or the value to the team of being able to have him for all of 2029 and still trade him with a full year of control left, is “defeatist”.


Thinking about his trade value and what he’ll already return is what’s defeatist. The guy has thrown four innings in the minors and you’re assessing when he’ll be traded?


Skenes will have a lot to say about whether Opening Day is an option, but they seem to be giving him the opportunity with the aggressive promotion to Altoona to earn his way to Pittsburgh by the end of the season. If he’s in Pittsburgh by the end of the season, it’s hard not to see him as an option for the Opening Day roster.

Normally I’d agree that it wouldn’t make sense to burn a year of control for a few extra weeks, but Skenes may force the issue. The best case scenario is an extension that buys out that extra year, though that involves a lot of risk for a risk-averse organization.

In any case, my preference is to call him up in May to gain the year while also keeping him fresher for October(!), but I didn’t expect he’d be in Altoona already so I’m guessing they might be open to rostering him to start next season.


I agree. If Skenes turns out as hoped, the extra year of control may very well be worth more than we would get with an extra draft pick.


Replying to everyone.

I’m not talking about holding him down to save money for Super Two. I mean literally just holding him down for a few weeks to try to keep him for an extra year. He still might leave a year early if he is in the top two of Rookie of the Year voting, but there isn’t much you can do about that. It’s not like you’re going to tell him to suck so that he doesn’t get any votes.


An extra year that they’ll enjoy on the field or use as trade value?


Doesn’t matter to the decision of when to call him up. In either case, the extra year almost certainly has more value than 2-3 more starts in March-April of 2024.



Plenty of argument to be had about whether that’s an ethical manner of roster management but it’s inarguably the best baseball decision.



If Skenes is first added to the 40-man on opening day of 2024 (March 28), he will get a full year of MLB service in 2024 and reach free agency at the end of the 2029 season.

If he is instead first added to the 40-man on April 11 (the 15th day of the season), he will get 171 days of MLB service in 2024 and reach free agency at the end of the 2030 season.

You’re basically trading 2-3 starts in 2024 for the 2030 season.

If, as some have suggested, he gets a cup of coffee in 2023 to start a game against the Yankees, he’ll get 15 days of MLB service in 2023 and be on the 40-man at the start of 2024, meaning he gets a full year of service in 2024 (and is a FA at the end of 2029) and the Pirates have one less 40-man slot to protect someone from the Rule 5.

In this case, you’re basically trading 2-3 starts in 2023 and 2-3 starts in 2024 for the 2030 season and another player potentially lost to R5.


Chatter out of the Northside about PS sipping coffee at PNC
after rosters expand in Sept could be for reals

EASTERN is one tough league I follow it closely,
kids finding success hitting or pitching for extended periods
are likely headed where PS is headed, TO THE BIGS

Here is the scenerio, Paul Skenes on the mound in early June
Endy is standing next to the unfit skip who benched him again

Top 6th, PS is throwing a 2 hitter but walks the lead off guy
as he reaches his PC of 75

Shelty steps up like he’s headed for a mound visit

Endy say’s “boss where you going”?

DS “I’m going to get him before this 2 run lead in gone”

Endy “You gonna take him out now?”

DS “Your right Endy what was i thinking?”


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