This week brought some bad news for Pirates fans when it was revealed that Johan Oviedo is suffering from an elbow issue that may require Tommy John Surgery. Neil took some time to break down the issue in a piece that he wrote yesterday. While that is an important news story and one that we will be following closely, it’s definitely not fun to read about. I’m going to try to lighten the mood a bit today and touch on something that might bring us Pirates fans a bit more hope.

On this week’s MLB Pipeline Podcast, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo did a draft of players they like for the 2024 Rookie of the Year awards. This year saw Corbin Carroll win Rookie of the Year for the National League and Gunnar Henderson win it for the American League. On the MLB Pipeline Podcast, they were selecting their teams of who they thought had the best shots at winning it in 2024. With the first pick in the fourth round, Jim Callis selected Paul Skenes. Skenes is Pittsburgh’s number one prospect and MLB’s number three overall prospect.

It’s hard not to believe in the first pick in last July’s Draft. And with the NL Central looking like a wide-open race — remember, the Pirates were above .500 over their last 65 games after promoting several other top prospects — Pittsburgh could use a big arm to bolster their playoff hopes.

“I know he’s not pitched a whole lot, obviously, since being the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft. But for the 18,000th time this year, I will parallel him to Stephen Strasburg. I think they’re the two best prospects in Draft history. Strasburg kind of puttered around the Minors a little bit at the beginning of his first full season, and then he was up, and he was very good. I’m going to bet on Paul Skenes’ talent. … It’s going to be one of those cases where he comes out and he dominates and it just becomes apparent that there’s no point in wasting innings in the Minors. I think Skenes will be up before June 1 — or somewhere thereabouts — and pitch very well the final four months of the season.”

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This is nice to see, and something I very much hope comes to fruition. I have a deep-seated fear that June rolls around and the Pirates season isn’t looking very bright and they make the decision that Skenes needs to stay within the minor-league system for the remainder of the year to work on “something”. Whatever nonsense they come up with that he needs work on. I’m not saying that I predict that this will happen. I’ve just seen this organization operate for long enough that I know better than to outright dismiss the possibility. Seeing Callis state with certainty that we’ll see him beginning of June helps to push those bad thoughts to the back of my head. Just what I needed.


Tonight at 9:00 P.M.(ish) EST there will be a NS9 Live on the official YouTube channel. The guys will be talking about the Oviedo injury as well as all of the latest news surrounding Pirates baseball. You can also catch the show wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts. Just search for North Shore Nine and hit the subscribe button.

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