Pirates Draft Prospect Watch: Dollander vs Skenes/Crews is Must See TV

We have been posting recaps of the weekend action every Monday, taking a look at the top prospects in this year’s draft class. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first overall pick in the July draft, which is why we have a special mid-week recap this week.

The mid-week games are fairly easy to ignore for the college season. If you’re following a hitter from a major school, the competition in the mid-week game is usually a filler team. Not only that, you’re seeing the non-weekend starting pitchers, making it tough to take anything of value from the game. That’s why we focus on the weekend games here for college players.

This post is really just to tell you about the must see TV on Thursday night. Tennessee is on the road taking on LSU. The two highest rated pitchers right now in this draft class will be facing each other. Chase Dollander goes for Tennessee, while Paul Skenes will be on the mound for LSU. 

Dollander hasn’t had the best results this year, but he’s dominated in the past, and it’s his stuff on the mound that has him ranked so high. Skenes has been beyond dominating this year, so facing Tennessee will be a great test.

It goes beyond the great pitching match-up, as top ranked draft prospect Dylan Crews is an outfielder for LSU. Crews and Dollander were 1/2 in the draft rankings for some people coming into the year.

So if you’re interested in following the draft, then this is the game for you to watch. It happens to fall on Opening Day for the big league season, but the Pirates game should be over before this game starts at 8 PM (Eastern time) on ESPNU.

You’ve got Skenes and Dollander both facing strong opponents. You have a pitching match-up of the guys who could be the top two pitchers in this draft. You have Crews facing the best pitcher he will see. It’s all there for you.

Here’s the recap of Tuesday’s action for the three players we follow who were in action.

Crews faced Grambling State in his game. He went 2-for-2 with two singles, two runs scored and a walk, before his team cleared off the bench in the fourth inning of a one-sided game. That brought him up to a .542 average in 25 games, with ten doubles, nine homers and 27 walks.

Jacob Gonzalez and Ole Miss were supposed to face Southern Miss on Tuesday, but that game was canceled. They actually played into the fourth inning, but the field was in such bad condition that the game was stopped and called off. 

Jacob Wilson had a solid opponent in Arizona on Tuesday. He went 2-for-3 with two singles, three walks, one run and one RBI. Wilson has struck out just four times in 107 plate appearances.


John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Skenes sitting above 100 last night, Dollander looking mush more ordinary. Seems like a pretty clear 2 horse race for #1 now.


Extend Reynolds, try to extend Keller, draft Crews, get Hank ready for some 1B, RF and DH and C, Hayes is at 3B, Cruz at SS as long as he can, Gonzo or Termarr at 2B, look to trade or sign a 1B and frontline SP for 2025.

Last edited 2 months ago by RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

Look forward to seeing the box score/highlights of this game.
Not sure how stiff the competition is throughout his season but those K numbers for J Flash Jr are pretty impressive.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I almost got tickets to Thursday’s game. Almost. Decided it was in our best interest to just watch it at home in the end.


Thanks for flagging this John 👊


Another great post.

Would’ve been fun to see Skenes face last year’s Tennessee team, as that team was awesome, & loaded with good hitters. This year’s Tennessee team is not very impressive so far, as it’s almost a completely new inexperienced lineup.

Skenes & LSU shouldn’t have too much trouble.


UT showed a lot of resiliency last weekend against Texas A&M. Tennessee is too talented and their Coach too intense to not flip the switch at some point this year. With Dollander and Burns, their pitching was supposed to be dominant and carry an inexperienced offense to start the year, but the pitching has been shaky.

A&M so far in the SEC losing their first 6 on the road at LSU and the next weekend at Tennessee.


This is potentially a start that can be worth millions of dollars for both Skenes and Dollander. Especially Dollander considering how good the LSU lineup is, and how pedestrian his season has been this far.

My prediction is Skenes outperforms Dollander tomorrow night and the rest of the year.


Should be a good day tomorrow. Opening day followed by this showdown. Spring has sprung my friends

b mcferren

batters eye is the most reliable metric

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