After half a season at the Class A Advanced level, Mitch Keller is ready for a new challenge.
On Wednesday, Pittsburgh promoted MLB.com's No. 22 prospect Double-A Altoona in the Eastern League, where the 21-year-old right-hander will look to build on his 6-3 record and 3.14 ERA with Class A Advanced Bradenton.
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"I'm feeling really excited," Keller said. "Ready to get to work and help them win a championship."
The 2014 second-round pick missed over a month between May and June after landing on the disabled list with a back strain, and his 1.00 WHIP would be tops in the Florida State League if he had enough innings to qualify. He finished his stay with the Marauders by allowing three runs over 19 innings, striking out 14 against while walking two over his last three starts.
Keller dominated with a 1.98 ERA in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2014 before being limited to six starts by a forearm strain and other injuries in the Rookie-level Appalachian League the following season.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Iowa native posted a 2.46 ERA and a 131-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 23 starts with Class A West Virginia last season and finished the campaign by striking out seven over six scoreless innings in his Class A Advanced debut at the end of August.
Keller features a low- to mid-90s sinking fastball, an 11-to-5 curveball and an improving changeup which enable him to keep the ball on the ground, as evidenced by his 1.72 groundball-to-flyball ratio this season. His control continues to impress as he climbs the Minor League ladder and projects as a plus trait in the long run.