Paul Skenes Props: How Will Pirates Phenom Fare in His Rookie Season?

Paul Skenes is set to make his highly-anticipated MLB debut on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs and sportsbooks are looking to cash in on the hype. Join me as I break down Skenes' season-long prop odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

May 10, 2024 • 13:53 ET • 4 min read
Paul Skenes Pittsburgh Pirates MLB
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The Pittsburgh Pirates are finally giving baseball fans what they want, as they've called up No. 1 overall pick Paul Skenes for Saturday's game vs. the Chicago Cubs. Skenes is one of the most highly-touted pitching prospects in recent memory, and sportsbooks are relishing the opportunity to offer Paul Skenes odds on total regular season strikeouts and regular season wins. 

At 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, the LSU product is a daunting figure on the mound with electric stuff to back it up. He's got a five-pitch arsenal that can throw hitters for a loop, and he will become one of the few pitchers in the Majors who can consistently register triple digits with his fastball. He was outstanding at LSU in his junior season, posting a 13-2 record with a 1.69 ERA. He struck out 209 batters with just 20 walks in 122 2/3 innings. 

How will Skenes fare in his MLB debut and onward? Join me as I break down the MLB odds below:  

Paul Skenes Odds

Paul Skenes regular-season strikeouts

Strikeouts DraftKings
Over 109.5 -110
Under 109.5 -110

Odds as of 5-10

The Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. While it's nice to have a Ferrari like Paul Skenes, it's going to be tough to figure out how to get the most mileage out of him and his young arm. 

They kept heavy tabs on him in AAA — and rightfully so — as he did not exceed 75 pitches in any of his seven starts. Despite the short leash, Skenes was able to amass 45 Ks in 27 1-3 innings. While his 14.9 SO/IP will dip a bit once he faces Major League-caliber hitters, there's no reason to believe Skenes will struggle to get punchouts. 

Skenes consistently hits triple digits on his fastball and features a wipeout slider, a curveball, and a changeup that have developed in Triple-A, plus a new offering, the “splinker” (a splitter-sinker — his words, not mine). 

If we are being highly conservative, Skenes projects 110 strikeouts over 19 starts if all goes according to plan. With the number sitting at 109.5 and juiced evenly, I will choose to believe the Pirates can, in fact, have nice things, and that Skenes will dominate at the Major League level. 

Pick: Over 109.5 strikeouts (-110 at DraftKings)

Paul Skenes regular-season total wins

Wins DraftKings
Over 5.5 -120
Under 5.5 +100

Odds as of 5-10

In a perfect world, Skenes' individual success would translate into immediate team success for the Pirates, but that's not how baseball works. This is a team sport, and long gone are the days of pitchers throwing 100+ pitches while going eight innings before handing it off to a shutdown closer. 

The bullpen will play a big role in determining this bet, and the Pirates sit mid-pack in terms of bullpen metrics. Another factor to consider is if Skenes will get any run support. 

The Pirates' offense has taken a nose-dive after a hot start and is averaging just 3.5 runs per game, and hitting .220 collectively, which are the third and fourth-worst marks in MLB. 

Even if Skenes is as dominant as we expect him to be, there will be no margin for error and there's a high chance the Buccos' struggles at the plate continue. 

For that reason, I'll take the Under at plus money. 

Pick: Under 5.5 wins (+100 at DraftKings)

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