Detroit Tigers 2023 MLB Draft Profile: RHP Paul Skenes

Starting pitcher Paul Skenes 20 on the mound as The LSU Tigers take on Tulane in the first round of the Regionals.
Starting pitcher Paul Skenes 20 on the mound as The LSU Tigers take on Tulane in the first round of the Regionals. / SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA

Detroit Tigers would get a special arm in Paul Skenes.

The 2023 MLB Draft will be an interesting one at the top of the draft class. While the Detroit Tigers possess the third overall pick, and in January, it seemed all but certain who picks one and two were going to be, things are a little less certain now.

There's room for the Detroit Tigers to end up with one of those pre-season one or two's from LSU. If Max Clark indeed gets taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:1, as has been rumored, the Tigers would have the chance to scoop up Paul Skenes or Dylan Crews at third overall.

As we continue to break down prospects in our MCB Draft coverage for 2023, it's time to take a look at Paul Skenes and what it might look like if the Tigers take him third overall. Here are the "things you need to know" about the big right-hander.


Skenes has been the prized possession in terms of arms from this draft class for quite some time, but he did not start his collegiate career with the LSU Tigers. During Jay Johnson's free-agency-like off-season, he could woo Skenes to join him down in Baton Rouge and step away from the Air Force Academy, where he had spent the last few seasons as a two-way standout.

He's a 6-foot-6, 235-pound right-handed pitcher with a massive and physical presence on the mound. He has that look of a big right-hander that you do not want to see toeing the slab against your squad. Not to mention, he throws 100 mph and holds his velocity deep into games.

Skenes is a 3-pitch mix player that has a ton to like with his offerings. The fastball gets up into the triple digits and is often an upper-90s pitch with a ton of late carry that can just be a real problem to the opposition.

He pairs that with a changeup that he replicates arm action really well on, getting it in the upper-80s and showing the ability to climb into the low-90s on the pitch with some tumble to it. He also has the upper-80s slider with a sweep to it, missing barrels.

The makings of a great pitcher are there between the pitch mix and the physical specimen that he is on the mound. Tons to love and project on when it comes to Skenes, making him attractive at the very top of this 2023 draft class.

After all, he's had a remarkable year for LSU, pitching in 16 games, totaling 99.1 innings pitched to this point. Skenes has struck out an incredible 179 opposing hitters over his 99.1 innings of work. He's pitched to a 1.90 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP while managing an 11-2 record.


Let's be honest. Any pitcher whose arm is capable of throwing 100 mph should be on your draft board. It's not all about velocity, but Skenes can throw 100 mph and also hold his velocity for up to 9 innings, throwing 101 mph on the 124th pitch of his recent start against Tulane.

Skenes has a three-pitch mix and command to put hitters in a blender. He is able to dissect the strike zone and control both sides of the plate. He can work in & out on the plate and get the job done efficiently. It's bat-missing stuff that makes for a treat to watch whenever he is on the mound.

Skenes has a ton to offer for a big-league organization. It's a pro body, a clean operation, and an incredible pitch mix. Given all this, he has an extremely high floor moving forward and should be at the top of many teams' wishlists on draft day.


With 179 punchouts during his season, it might mean he has a lot of high pitch counts in his starts and outings where he puts stress on his arm. Just kidding. He's going to be just fine. He's holding his velocity for nine innings and working deep into starts with an uber-competitive mound presence.

But in terms of a true weakness, I would say he is a velocity-over-stuff type profile. The breaking ball is excellent at the collegiate level with tight spin and shape, but he's a 3-pitch guy focused on carrying the fastball and overpowering with the fastball.

It cannot be the biggest knock on him, given how much success he is, but it's something to think about when it comes to his profile.

Fit with the Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers need to jump on Skenes if he is there at third overall. While the Tigers need to try and grab themselves a collegiate bat if the chance presents itself, they cannot miss out on Skenes if he is on the board.

The Tigers would be able to add him into their future rotation, providing he can jump into the organization and get settled in quickly, as expected. If he could jump into the organization and find success in the lower levels early, he could be on a fast track to the big leagues.

Skenes has the makings to join a big league rotation and be a frontline starter if all goes as planned, and would be a nice boost to the Tigers' starting rotation. However, the team really needs to focus on a bat, which leads me to think that he may not be the best fit if Crews or Langford are available.

Detroit Tigers 2023 MLB Draft Profile: OF Wyatt Langford. Detroit Tigers 2023 MLB Draft Profile: OF Wyatt Langford. dark. Next