Pirates pick up No. 1 signing in record $9.2 million deal with Paul Skeens

Pitcher Paul Skenes helped LSU win the College World Series.

Pitcher Paul Skenes helped LSU win the College World Series.
image, Scott Claus / USA Today Network

1 pick in the 2023 draft, former LSU right-hander Paul Skeans signed a contract that includes a record $9.2 million signing bonus. pittsburgh pirates on Tuesday

Regarded as the best power pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg, Skeens’ deal has surpassed the previous rookie record deal between the Detroit Tigers and 2020 No. 1 pick Spencer Torkelson ($8.42 million).

Skenes’ scouting reports included a fastball hitting 102 mph and a slider in the mid-80s that made him an ace during his time with the Tigers, posting a 1.69 ERA in 19 starts in 2023. Together became 12-2. He was named National Player of the Year and National Pitcher of the Year the year before helping lead LSU to victory in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., where he earned CWS Most Outstanding Player honors.

Pirates General manager Ben Cherrington said Skenes would make his professional debut in the Florida Complex League in Bradenton.

“We obviously like the potential and what’s going to happen in the future,” Cherington said. “But we’re really excited that Paul Skenes is going to be a pirate.”

LSU teammate Dylan Cruz, who was the No. 2 pick in the draft for the Nationals, has not signed yet. Detroit signed No. 3 pick Max Clarke, an outfielder from Franklin Community High School in Indiana, to a deal that includes a $7.7 million signing bonus.

–Field Level Media