Glendale, AZ – Pirates phenom Mitch Keller came into the Arizona Fall League as one of the more well known and highly rated prospects in all of Minor League Baseball. On Friday, Keller continued to assert himself as the top pitching prospect in the game. Keller was masterful in a 4 inning stint for the Glendale Desert Dogs, allowing only 3 baserunners while striking out 2 and inducing 6 ground ball outs.
Keller’s fastball touched 97 but he mostly sat around 93-94, keeping the ball down and the Scottsdale Scorpions hitter off balance in a 3-1 victory at Camelback-Ranch Stadium. Keller outdueled NY Mets journeyman Mickey Jannis, who came into the game with a 0.53 ERA while lowering his own ERA to 1.37 in 19 AFL IP.
Keller boasts an easy and efficient delivery. To me, it looks like he is just playing catch and it is quite spectacular how easy his velocity seems to be. His ability to use his FB up in the zone as well as paint the low and away corner are what make him special. His ability to get quick outs with his fastball suggest that he will be able to pitch deep into games at the big league level. Over the course of two stops between High A Bradenton and AA Altoona, Keller posted a 50% GB rate and a 1.55 GO/AO. In his MiLB career, Keller has allowed only 12 HR in 293.1 IP.
During Keller’s time in the Florida State League, every scout I talked to and every hitter I spoke to said Keller was the toughest pitcher in the league. I spoke to one scout over the summer who said Keller was MLB ready right now. I would expect him to arrive in Pittsburgh sometime after the All Star Break.