Talking Mitch Keller with noted prospect watcher Bernie Pleskoff

Former scout and current writer Bernie Pleskoff chats with Pirates Breakdown Radio about the Pittsburgh Pirates’ most prized prospect: Mitch Keller.

Mr. Pleskoff is currently in Arizona to report on Fall League action, and he was kind enough to join me on the Pirates Breakdown Radio Network to discuss Pittbsurgh Pirates’ pitching prospect Mitch Keller, who is pitching there for Glendale. Below is a brief summary of the conversation, as well as the full podcast.

What he likes about Keller

The short answer is Pleskoff is a fan of Keller’s stuff. The 21 year old is currently sitting 95-96 MPH on his heater with good control and late movement. That fastball is complimented by an 89 MPH curveball and a changeup Pleskoff is yet to see in action.

Pleskoff describes Keller as a “rhythm pitcher,” meaning once he gets in a groove, he becomes very hard to hit.

“His mechanics are sound,” Pleskoff said. “He’s got a very good arm. His fastball command is excellent. He’s a very good prospect.”

Pleskoff thinks Keller is “clearly one of the best starting pitcher options here at the Arizona Fall League” and among the top pitching prospects in baseball.

The Full Pod

Listen to our full talk with Bernie below. Mobile/App users – click on “listen in browser” 

What needs work

Keller has an injury history, suffering from a sore flexor muscle in 2015 and back pain this year. While an injury history is always concerning for a young pitcher, Pleskoff is more concerned with Keller’s exploitable flaw right now: runners are taking advantage of him on the basepaths.

That problem stems from his long delivery time, clocking in at 1.38 seconds, according to Pleskoff. For comparison, Pleskoff says 1.25 seconds in a good time. Between his long stretch and failing to take other measures to stop the running game- such as throwing over to first base and stepping off the rubber- Pleskoff sees this as a problem that will not go away.

“That is a flaw, and that has got to be corrected if he’s gonna progress in the major leagues,” Pleskoff said.

Alex Stumpf

Alex is a credentialed Pirates beat reporter with The Pittsburgh Sports Report. He writes for a variety of sites, including Pirates Breakdown, The Point of Pittsburgh and Fangraphs. You can follow him @AlexJStumpf.
  • Lee Foo Young

    wonderful…another Pirate pitcher who is a hot prospect that can’t control the running game.

    Well, at least he has good control

  • leadoff

    Do they have any good coaches anywhere in this organization?