Pittsburgh Pirates top ten prospects for 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Mitch Keller #23 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the bottom of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 10, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Mitch Keller #23 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the bottom of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 10, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

1. Mitch Keller

Minors (AAA): 103.2 innings, 7-5 record, 3.56 ERA, 1.244 WHiP, 35 walks, 123 strikeouts

Majors: 48 innings, 1-5 record, 7.13 ERA, 1.833 WHiP, 16 walks, 65 strikeouts

A consensus top 50 prospect for each of the past three seasons, the 2020 campaign will be important for Mitch Keller.

The Pittsburgh Pirates second round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, Keller moved slowly through the system. He struggled with injuries in his second season in professional baseball, then had his breakout campaign in 2016. Since then, he has steadily climbed the ladder, showing the makings of a top of the rotation arm.

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The pure stuff is certainly there for Keller to fulfill his potential. His fastball, which sits in the mid 90s, can reach 98 MPH and has excellent sink. Keller’s curve has solid 11 to 5 break, and shows the makings of being a plus pitch. His changeup is still a work in progress, and could be the key to whether or not he can unlock his potential. However, he has worked on the offering, and does show a feel for his arsenal. With his solid command and willingness to work on his craft, Keller is the type of prospect that a team can dream on.

Keller has struggled before, then found his footing the following year. That was the case in AAA in 2018, when he posted a 4.82 ERA and a 1.548 WHiP in his 52.1 innings before showing he could handle the level in 2019. It is certainly possible that the same happens with the Pirates in 2020, as he is likely to break camp as part of the Pittsburgh rotation. If the Pirates have any hope of contending in the coming season, they will need Keller to fulfill his promise sooner rather than later. Refining his changeup will go a long way towards that happening.

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Mitch Keller could be a top of the rotation starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They will need him to live up to that potential.