Looking at the Pirates’ logic for keeping pitcher Mitch Keller in the minors | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

Looking at the Pirates’ logic for keeping pitcher Mitch Keller in the minors

Tim Benz
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Mitch Keller during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday, March 8, 2019, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Nick Kingham starts for the Pirates on Wednesday against Texas. Mitch Keller pitches, too, but for Indianapolis. With the injuries in the starting rotation — Jameson Taillon and Chris Archer — some think that should be reversed.

We look at Neal Huntington’s explanation as to why the Pirates are keeping Keller down in the minors.

Frankly, the logic is sound. Keller is adding a slider to his arsenal. And it seems to be working. For the season, the 23-year-old has registered a 3.48 ERA. But his last two starts have been good, both victories featuring a 16:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

So it appears to be working. And the Pirates don’t want him refining the pitch on the fly at the Major League level.

LISTEN: Why is Mitch Keller still in the minors?

OK. Makes sense. One thing I wonder, though, is that if this was a possibility, why not have Keller implement the pitch in spring training instead of midseason in the minors? That’s especially worthy of asking since a call-up this season has always been projected for Keller.

Also, is that the real reason? Or is this some sort of service time issue or general reluctance to lean on young players, despite how those youthful components of the roster have helped the team this season?

We get into those topics and more in our Wednesday podcast.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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