Regarded as the best power pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg, Skenes’ deal eclipses the previous rookie record deal between the Detroit Tigers and 2020 No. 1 pick Spencer Torkelson ($8.42 million).
Skenes’ scouting report includes a fastball clocked at 102 mph and a mid-80s slider that made him an ace during his time with the Tigers, going 12-2 with a 1.69 ERA in 19 starts in 2023. He was named National Player of the Year and National Pitcher of the Year before helping LSU prevail at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, where he earned CWS Most Outstanding Player honors.
Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said Skenes will begin his pro career at the Florida Complex League in Bradenton.
“We obviously love the ability and what the future holds,” Cherington said. “But we’re really excited Paul Skenes the person is going to be a Pirate.”
LSU teammate Dylan Crews, the No. 2 pick in the draft to the Nationals, hasn’t signed yet. Detroit signed No. 3 pick Max Clark, an outfielder from Franklin Community High School in Indiana, to a deal that includes a $7.7 million bonus.