Pittsburgh Pirates right-handed pitching prospect Mitch Keller has learned to drown out the distractions.

Perhaps no Pittsburgh Pirates prospect has received more accolades and notices in the past year-plus than RHP Mitch Keller.

Ranking as high as the team’s number two prospect by Baseball America, and generally landing somewhere in the top six, Keller’s rise through the Pirates system has been meteoric.

“You have to forget about them. Because it is a job.” Keller told me as Keller joined Pirates Breakdown Radio for a wide-ranging interview. Clearly, Keller is doing his job well. He has racked up numerous accolades from various prospect ranking systems, with particular focus on his curveball as a pitch to watch.

Over the course of our talk, the rock-solid mindset that the Pirates’ 2016 Minor League Pitcher of the Year possesses – and others have raved about – shines through. We talked mechanics in depth, how his curveball has emerged as his best pitch, what he thinks about the proposed changes to MLB’s strike zone and much more.

You can here the full interview below, with selected highlights transcribed further below.

The Full Interview

On His Curveball

“I feel really comfortable with that. That’s what i was in high school- a fastball/curveball pitcher. I didn’t’ have a changeup; which now is coming along. I feel comfortable throwing the curveball at any time. It’s my out pitch right now.” [On His Fastball setting up the Curve] “Right now I feel comfortable pounding the bottom of the zone; but I’ll have to change that as I keep going.”

[termposts]

Mechanically Speaking

[When asked if having mechanics down pat will now allow him to focus on learning the craft of pitching] “It helps a lot. You don’t have to worry..oh is my arm going to hurt this pitch, when it’s going to start nagging on me…you go out and pitch and you learn the game instead of trying to learn your body. But, you’re always learning your body at the same time.”

On MLB’s Proposed Strike Zone Changes

“At first thought, not a big fan; but thinking on it…what our coaches told us, is just throw at the same spot; it’s pretty hard for a hitter to differentiate it. So they are going to swing at it no matter what. I don’t think it will much of an effect on the guys in the minor leagues. Hitters won’t be able to take that pitch very often.”

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Photo Credit – MILB.COM

Jason Rollison

Jason Rollison has been analyzing baseball and the Pirates in one way or another for 4+ years. Jason's previous stops include rumbunter.com, Pittsburgh Sporting News, Call To The Pen and several print publications. He also covers the State College Spikes for the Centre County Gazette (State College, PA) When it comes to analyzing baseball, he likes to take a middle-of-the-road approach, with one foot on the analytics side of the fence and the other on the old-school side. Having said that, he is a sucker for pitchf/x. Jason has appeared as a phone-in and in-studio guests in numerous outlets, including Trib Live Radio and 93.7 The Fan (CBS Sports Radio)