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Paul Skenes Is The Greatest College Arm I've Ever Seen

Has anyone else ever marveled at the fact that pitchers are getting better? I understand they aren't going as deep in the games as they used to, and pitchers get injured more than they did back in the day (we'll talk about that in a second), but in terms of overall stuff, pitchers are just better than they've ever been. Imagine 25-30 years ago, telling someone that the top-rated pitching prospect in college throws 102 consistently. Well, that prospect exists, and his name is Paul Skenes.

I'd watched bits and pieces of Skenes' starts throughout the season. His stuff gets posted to the Pitching Ninja Twitter account basically every day, but I'd never sat down and watched one of his starts from front to back. Now that I've done so (he threw 7.2 scoreless last night against Kentucky in the super regional), I can confidently say that Paul Skenes is the best college arm I've ever seen. It's well-documented that the guy throws 102 MPH without seemingly breaking a sweat, but it goes well beyond that. He has major league-ready command. He just attacks every single hitter. Watching this dude toss the ball in college is like watching that one ten-year-old with a beard who dominates in little league. Paul Skenes is essentially Danny Almonte, except, you know, not cheating.

Skenes will likely go in the top 2 in the upcoming draft (his teammate Dylan Crews may be the only person stopping him from going #1). That makes complete sense. I can't remember the last time a starting pitcher had this high of a ceiling coming into the draft. When he came out of SDSU, Stephen Strasburg was the only one that came close. But the process of developing pitchers is a complicated one. Injuries are inevitable. I'm a Detroit Tigers fan. We were promised a trio of aces three years ago with Casey Mize (former #1 overall pick), Matt Manning, and Tarik Skubal. They are all currently injured, and only Skubal showed true ace potential when he's been on the mound. In theory, drafting a pitcher like Skenes in the first round seems like a slam dunk. My prediction game sucks, but if (and it's a big "if") Paul Skenes stays relatively healthy throughout his career, he will win multiple Cy Young awards. He could be a cheat code like deGrom for a few years. His stuff is lethal now, but imagine what it'll look like when he gets to a major league organization with the resources to improve his spin rate. His 101 will look like 106 coming out of his hand. And unlike some former top prospects with elite stuff but unstable mechanics, Skenes is clean—easy delivery with short arm action. He seems too good to be true, but we know how things go with pitchers.

Have you ever seen that episode of "Family Guy" where the Griffins win a boat, but Peter decides to risk his luck by choosing the mystery box instead? "The mystery box could be anything. It could even be a boat." Paul Skenes is essentially the mystery box in this scenario. Whatever GM takes him in the draft may end up having their tenure defined by that draft pick. He's too good to pass up on, but in some ways, he's too risky to take. And for the record, any trepidation a team may have about taking Skenes has nothing to do with him. There are zero red flags other than the fact that pitchers with his kind of stuff who clocked a lot of innings in college (he threw 124 pitches in a start last week) tend to be injury prone. The size, mental makeup, and stuff are all there. I'm a pitching guy. I hope Skenes becomes what many people project him to become. Drafting pitchers early can be a dangerous game, which makes sense in this case because Skenes has dangerous, DANGEROUS stuff.

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