Skenes retires Holliday, hits 102 mph in debut

MLB

Pittsburgh Pirates starter Paul Skenes retired Baltimore Orioles shortstop prospect Jackson Holliday on a grounder to second base Thursday in a spring training matchup of the top overall picks in the past two amateur drafts.

Skenes threw 10 pitches while retiring the side in order in his lone inning. His fastball reached 102 mph.

“Pretty satisfied,” Skenes told reporters after the game in Sarasota, Florida. “I’ve got some stuff to work on, but yeah, I’m ready to go. Feel good.”

Skenes, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, was the first pick last year after going 13-2 with a 1.69 ERA and 209 strikeouts while leading LSU to the NCAA title. He agreed to a $9.2 million signing bonus and pitched in five games with Low-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona.

Skenes followed the first-inning matchup against Holliday by facing Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick in 2019. The Orioles All-Star catcher flied out to the right-field warning track.

“I think the biggest thing was just getting out there and pitching in front of people, because adrenaline is a big thing,” Skenes said. “Just kind of wanted to see where we’re at.”

Holliday, the first pick in the 2022 draft, is regarded as baseball’s top prospect. The son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday agreed to an $8.19 million signing bonus. Holliday, 20, batted .323 with a .442 on-base percentage, 12 home runs, 74 RBIs and 24 steals in 125 games for four minor league teams last season.

Holliday went 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI in the Orioles’ 9-8 victory.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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