Former LSU pitcher Paul Skenes receives his MLB call up, will debut this weekend

Former LSU pitcher Paul Skenes has received his MLB call up and will make his majors debut this weekend against the Cubs. PHOTO BY: LSU athletics

Former LSU ace Paul Skenes has earned his major league call up.

The Pirates announced Wednesday on social media that the former No. 1 overall pick Skenes will be making the jump to the MLB. Skenes has dominated Triple-A baseball since his professional debut and looked destined for a quick call up.

Skenes made five starts last year moving from rookie ball to Double-A. He started this season in Triple-A where he posted a 0.99 ERA with 45 strikeouts to just eight walks over 27.1 innings pitched.

Skenes transferred to LSU before the 2023 season and dominated at a level rarely seen. The right hander recorded an SEC record 209 strikeouts across 19 starts and posted a 1.69 ERA en route to a national championship win. He routinely got the best of SEC batters and finished his LSU career with an eight-inning shutout against No. 1 Wake Forest in Omaha.

He has yet to throw more than 75 pitches in a game as the Pirates have tried to ease him into professional ball. He’s expected to get his first start for the Pirates this Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. The game will start at 3:05 p.m.


Skenes, the No. 1 overall selection by the Pirates in last summer’s MLB Draft, is the 84th Major Leaguer in the illustrious history of LSU Baseball. The 21-year-old Skenes will arrive in Pittsburgh after dominating Triple-A this season, allowing three earned runs in 27.1 innings and striking out 45 batters.

Skenes, a Lake Forest, Calif., native, led LSU to the 2023 College World Series title and was presented with the Dick Howser Trophy as the best player in NCAA Division I.

Skenes, who was also the 2023 D1 Baseball National Player of the Year and the SEC Pitcher of the Year, compiled a 13-2 record and a 1.69 ERA in 122.2 innings with 20 walks and an SEC-record 209 strikeouts. He finished No. 1 in the nation in strikeouts (209), strikeouts per nine innings (15.33) and WHIP (0.75).

He finished No. 2 in the nation in ERA (1.69), No. 3 in strikeout-to-walk ratio (10.45), and No. 5 in hits allowed per nine innings (5.28). He was voted the Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series, as he was 1-0 in two starts with a 1.15 ERA in 15.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and 21 strikeouts.

Skenes posted a win over Tennessee (June 17) in LSU’s opening game of the CWS, working 7.2 innings and allowing two runs on five hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts. He then faced Wake Forest in the CWS semifinal round (June 22) on just four days’ rest and limited the Deacons to no runs on two hits in 8.0 innings with one walk and nine strikeouts.

Skenes, a member of the 2023 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll, pledged $10 for every strikeout he recorded last season to Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to the spouses and children of military and first responders who have died or been disabled.

He is the first LSU player coached by Jay Johnson to reach the big leagues since Johnson began his tenure in Baton Rouge in 2022. LSU has had at least one former player make his MLB debut in 30 of the past 34 seasons.

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Will Nickel

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