Bucs' Keller continues to dominate in Fall League

November 10th, 2017

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the Arizona Fall League winding down, Mitch Keller is doing his part to end his time in the desert on a high note.

Keller, Pittsburgh's No. 2 prospect, turned in one of his better Fall League outings on Friday, as he allowed two hits, walked one and struck out a pair over four scoreless innings to help pace Glendale to a 3-1 victory over Scottsdale at Camelback Ranch.

"I felt really good," said Keller, MLBPipeline.com's No. 18 overall prospect, after his start. "Me and [catcher Seby Zavala] had a real good plan and good connection with what he was calling. I felt really comfortable out there."

Box score

Keller struggled to command his fastball when he started for the West in last week's Fall Stars Game. Working two innings, he allowed one run on one hit and two walks without registering a strikeout.

The 21-year-old right-hander certainly didn't have trouble doing so on Friday, as he showed feel for locating the pitch on both sides of the plate and effectively challenged hitters up in the zone, all while sitting 93-97 with late life.

"I think in the Fall Stars Game I was too quick -- just had adrenaline and didn't control it as well as I should have," Keller said.

Keller's curveball was equally impressive in the outing, registering in the low-80s with late, downer action, and he showed the ability to throw it for a strike in various counts before burying it down in the zone when vying for a whiff. He also selectively mixed in some changeups in the upper 80s that featured late sinking action and fade.

Altogether, Keller threw 41 of his 55 pitches for strikes and induced six ground-ball outs en route to recording his third scoreless performance in five starts for Glendale this fall. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder lowered his Fall League ERA to 1.37 with Friday's stellar outing, and he's now allowed just 11 hits in 19 2/3 innings.

"It's been really positive from all aspects," said Keller about his time in this year's Fall League. "Just meeting new guys and learning how to pitch, and pitching against all these really good guys on the other end makes you have to put everything together to be successful. I think that will help me later on in the Minors, and hopefully one day in the big leagues."

The Desert Dogs loaded the bases in the first inning but ultimately failed to push across a run. They fared better in the second inning, though, scoring two runs on three hits to stake Keller to an early lead.

Dodgers No. 5 prospect Yusniel Diaz (No. 76 overall) led off the frame with a triple to left-center field and then came in to score when the next batter for Glendale, Edgar Cabral, singled in Diaz. Charlie Tilson (White Sox No. 19 prospect) laced an RBI single back up the middle for his second hit in as many innings to drive Cabral home.

Glendale would add to its lead in the fifth inning when Diaz singled through the left side of the infield to plate fellow Dodgers prospect Matt Beaty (No. 30), who had doubled to open the frame.

Scottsdale responded with its first and only run of the game in the top of the sixth inning courtesy of Steven Duggar's (Giants' No. 7) second Fall League homer, a one-out solo shot down the right-field line.

Tilson finished the game 2-for-4 with an RBI, giving him hits in three straight games for Glendale after going 0-for-14 to begin his Fall League campaign, while Diaz improved his average to .281 with a 2-for-4 effort.