LSU’s Paul Skenes was the first overall pick in this past MLB Draft, selected by the Pirates number one overall. Pittsburgh also decided to load up at pitcher, using nine out of their 11 picks in the first two days of the draft on the same position while avoiding taking an outfielder.

In total, 14 out of the 21 picks they made in the 20-round three-day event were spent on pitchers, while none were outfielders.

Named the Most Outstanding Player at the College World Series this past year, Skenes joins the Pirates as the first LSU player taken first overall in the MLB draft.

For the second time in three years, Pittsburgh held the top pick by winning the first draft lottery, just ahead of the Washington Nationals, who took Skenes’ teammate LSU outfielder Dylan Crews number two overall. The Skenes-Crews duo are the first teammates taken with the top two picks of the MLB draft.


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The 21-year-old right-hander Skenes went 12–2 with a 1.69 ERA in 19 starts as a junior, striking out 209 batters with just 20 walks over 122 2/3 innings. A finalist for the Golden Spikes award as the nation’s best player, Skenes aided LSU to a national championship this past season and excelled as a Tiger after spending his first two college seasons at Air Force.

In 2023, Skenes struck out 45% of the batters he pitched against.

Pittsburgh has had the first overall pick six other times in history, more than any other franchise. Skenes joins outfielder and catcher Henry Davis for the Pirates, as they also selected him number one overall in the 2021 MLB draft. The 23-year-old has spent most of his time in college and minor-league career as a catcher but made his major-league debut on June 19 as an outfielder primarily.

Currently, the Pirates are ranked fourth in the NL Central at a 41-49 record. The draft and their picks will allow Pittsburgh to really evaluate their future at the pitcher position for the long term.

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