Rookie sensation Paul Skenes turns heads in MLB debut against the Cubs

Rookie sensation Paul Skenes turns heads in MLB debut against the Cubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Before a wild rain delay sequence during Saturday's Cubs-Pirates game, the Pirates unveiled the ace up their sleeve in rookie sensation Paul Skenes.

Skenes finished his MLB debut against the Cubs pitching four innings and allowing six hits, two walks and three earned runs. He struck out seven batters, too, showing off his blistering fastball and nasty off-speed pitches.

Skenes has a nasty arsenal. His fastball in the minors averaged 99.9 miles per hour, which he throws just south of 50% of his pitches. But he has the range to use his off-speed pitches just as much.

His slider, as seen in the video above, is devastating. He also uses a "splinker" which is a splitter and sinker combination. He can throw that 95 miles per hour with solid movement, giving him an unbelievable combination between his heater and his off-speed sinker.

Before making his way to the majors for the first time on Saturday, the Pirates played Skenes entirely in Triple-A this season. In seven starts (27 1/3 innings) in the minors this season, Skenes recorded a 0.99 ERA. He struck out 45 batters and walked just eight of them. Skenes also held a blistering 0.915 WHIP.

He's been earmarked as a generational pitcher since his college days at LSU, where he led his team to a national championship last summer. Scouts dared to call Skenes MLB's best pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg.

Ironically, Andrew McCutchen was the Pirates' lead-off batter when Strasburg made his MLB debut 14 years ago. He was the first batter for the Pirates when Skenes made his debut on Saturday.

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