Skenes on McAfee Show: From 86 mph to triple digits

April 19th, 2024

Paul Skenes appeared on ESPN’s Pat McAfee Show on Friday, where Pittsburgh’s top prospect spoke on professional baseball, his mindset, and of course, his fastball velocity.

"I don't know how I do it." Skenes admitted. “When I was a junior in high school, I was probably throwing 86 mph. So it’s happened recently.”

Skenes is less than a year removed from being selected first overall in the 2023 Draft out of LSU. So far on the young season, he’s struck out over half of the batters he’s faced (27 of 47) and has yet to give up a run in 12 2/3 innings pitched. Of 210 pitches he’s thrown on the year, 74 have been fastballs at 100 mph or above.

"It's different, that's something I'm learning right now," said the 21-year-old of his transition from college to pro ball. "Obviously Triple-A is different from the big leagues, but Triple-A is also different from college. Everything's just a little bit different. They're using wood bats, but the hitters are better. ... So just a bunch of little adjustments that you have to get used to."

Skenes' success, of course, hasn't been all to do with his high-powered fastball -- he also spoke to using the pitch timer to his advantage in dealing with hitters, saying, "I love it ... There are guys, for sure, that don't like to be rushed, or that don't like to wait, and those are the guys you can try to rush or run out the pitch clock on."

Forthcoming as he was about the challenges and lessons Minor League Baseball has offered to him, Skenes didn't have much news to break concerning his impending callup, whenever it may be.

"You know about as well as I do when I'm going up," Skenes said.