No. 1 pick Skenes strikes out two in brief Single-A debut

August 16th, 2023

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Hundreds of eyes and dozens of cell phone cameras were locked in on more than an hour before he made his Single-A debut Tuesday night.

The crowd lined the wooden boardwalk above the right-field bullpen at LECOM Park to get a glimpse of the No. 1 pick in the 2023 Draft as he stretched and warmed up for his second appearance in pro ball.

Then one of the best pitching prospects in recent memory strode to the mound for the Bradenton Marauders and gave everyone what they really came to see.

Skenes struck out two batters in a 16-pitch scoreless inning for the Pirates affiliate, throwing 10 pitches for strikes, en route to the Marauders' 14-13 victory.

Unlike his pro debut on Thursday when he leaned on his 80-grade fastball, Skenes showcased more of his repertoire against the Lakeland Flying Tigers, mixing his triple-digit heater evenly with his power slider.

The No. 3 prospect in baseball's outing began with the first baserunner he has allowed as a pro, as he allowed a clean single up the middle from Seth Stephenson on a 98 mph sinker.

Skenes was untouchable after that.

He froze Cristian Santana, the Tigers’ No. 17 prospect, on a 100 mph sinker -- his fastest pitch of the night -- as Stephenson stole second and then advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Geovanny Planchart.

The 6-foot-6 right-hander was not affected by the runner in scoring position. He buckled down and got Jim Jarvis to strike out swinging on an 84 mph slider that dived toward the shortstop’s back foot. Skenes got out of the inning after Stephenson got into a rundown along the third-base line before he was tagged out by shortstop Yordany De Los Santos (PIT No. 21).

As Skenes made his way off the field, he was greeted by a huge ovation from those behind the Marauders’ dugout.

According to's Jonathan Mayo, the LSU product should pitch two innings Sunday in Bradenton against Lakeland and then is expected to move up in the system.