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Paul Skenes was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft after a dominant, national championship season at Louisiana State and two strong years at Air Force. The 21-year-old pitcher, who has been spotted out with Olivia Dunne multiple times in recent days, picked up right where he left off during his professional debut on Tuesday night.
Skenes threw just one inning for the Single-A Bradenton Marauders, but dazzled during his three-batter outing. He threw 16 pitches, 10 of which for strikes, and recorded two strikeouts— almost three.
His debut actually started on a sour note. It ripped off the metaphorical Band-Aid.
Skenes began his evening by allowing Seth Stephenson to single up the middle on a 98mph sinker. The first outing of his Minor League Baseball career began with the first baserunner of his MiLB career.
He was untouchable after that.
Cristian Santana, Detroit’s No. 17 prospect, stepped into the box and froze on a 100mph sinker for strike three— which was the fastest pitch of Skenes’ evening. Meanwhile, Stephenson stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher.
Skenes was completely unfazed by the runner in scoring position and shut it down. The 6-foot-6 righty turned right around and recorded his second strikeout of the night on an 84mph slider that dove toward the batter’s back foot.
Unfortunately, Skenes did not get to finish out the third batter of the night. Stephenson got into a rundown on the third-base line and was eventually tagged out to end the first inning.
Skenes was in a great position to record his third-straight strikeout before the pickle play. He buried a nasty slider down and away to get the count to 2-2.
Although he never got the chance, Skenes likely would have thrown his heater to shut it down on the very next pitch. We can go ahead and grandfather him in for a three-strikeout debut.