Keller twirls three scoreless in AFL debut

No. 2 Pirates prospect allows three hits, fans four for Desert Dogs

Mitch Keller held opposing batters to a .202 average across three levels this season. (Terrance Williams/

By Staff | October 11, 2017 7:02 PM ET

The last time Mitch Keller pitched in a competitive game, his team ended up celebrating a championship.

Even without that kind of pressure, Keller was still sharp in his first Arizona Fall League start. Pittsburgh's No. 2 prospect worked around three hits and a walk while striking out four in three scoreless innings as Glendale edged Peoria, 5-4, at Camelback Ranch.

Gameday box score

Keller's first matchup of the campaign might have been his toughest. Top Braves prospect Ronald Acuna.'s fifth-ranked overall prospect fouled off the first pitch as he worked a full count, but the No. 18 overall prospect retired him on a swinging strikeout. Acuna followed up with a first-pitch single in the third.

Red Sox No. 2 prospect Michael Chavis singled off Keller in the first and Mariners prospect Eric Fillia slapped a ground-rule double in the second, but Keller shut down the Javelinas from there.

Offseason MiLB include

While a back strain kept Keller on the disabled list for five weeks, the 21-year-old hurled 116 innings this season. Keller went 8-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 116 strikeouts and 32 walks across Class A Advanced Bradenton and Double-A Altoona, plus two rehab outings with Class A Short Season West Virginia.

Keller finished up his fourth professional season with a dominant postseason. The right-hander yielded two runs on five hits and three walks with 12 punchouts in 16 1/3 innings across two starts, including the Eastern League title clincher for the Curve.

Phillies prospects Zach Green and Cornelius Randolph drove in two runs apiece for the Desert Dogs, with the former going yard in the second.

Filia went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple and a run scored in the ninth for the Javelinas.

In other AFL action:

Saguaros 3, Rafters 1

Texas outfield prospect Michael O'Neill singled twice and drove in two runs as Surprise picked up its first victory of the season. O'Neill poked a two-out RBI single to center in the fifth and then a two-out run-scoring knock to center in the seventh. Elier Hernandez (Royals) equaled added two hits and scored once for the Saguaros. Six Surprise pitchers combined to allow one run on six hits in the victory with starter David Ledbetter (Rangers) giving up just two knocks over three scoreless innings. Gameday box score

Solar Sox 9, Scorpions 4

Athletics No. 14 prospect Sheldon Neuse busted a 5-4 game wide open in the seventh, crushing a grand slam to left-center field off Adam Hofacket (Angels) as part of a 3-for-4 day. David Bote (Cubs) added three hits, including a three-run shot an inning earlier to give Mesa the lead. Third-ranked Angels prospect Matt Thaiss went 3-for-4 with two runs scored for Scottsdale, which got a strong start from Albert Abreu. The Yankees No. 7 prospect allowed one run on four hits while striking out three in five innings. Gameday box score

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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