Paul Skenes mania: Pirates’ No. 1 overall pick to pitch against the SeaWolves at UPMC Park

Detroit Free Press

Paul Skenes will be the third No. 1 overall pick to play in Erie this season against the SeaWolves. Skenes is dating social media star and LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne, who was at his debut in Altoona.

It’s not unusual for the SeaWolves to have the No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft in town either playing for the home team or for the opponent.

Paul Skenes, however, has created a buzz no matter where he goes. After leading LSU to the College World Series title this spring, Skenes was the No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Skenes, 21, has thrown just 4⅔ innings in four appearances since joining the Pirates organization, but he has drawn big crowds everywhere he has gone. In his Double-A debut with the Altoona Curve this past Saturday, Skenes threw just ⅔ of an inning but it was in front of a franchise-record 10,164 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

The hype he brings to each game is not only as the top prospect in all of baseball and a future ace for the Pirates, but it also is because of who he is dating these days. It was confirmed a few weeks ago he is dating social media star and LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne. She actually made the trip to Altoona for his debut last week, which caused an uproar in the stands and led to security issues.

Skenes is set to start on Friday for Altoona, but his start could last just an inning or two as the Pirates limit his innings after throwing a full college season this spring. The game is set for 6:05 p.m. at UPMC Park followed by the last scheduled fireworks show of the year.

Other No. 1 picks to play in Erie

Skenes is one of three No. 1 overall picks to play at UPMC Park this season. Jackson Holliday, the No. 1 pick by the Baltimore Orioles in 2022, played this past week against the SeaWolves, while Henry Davis, the No. 1 pick by the Pirates in 2021, was at UPMC Park earlier this year before being promoted to Triple-A and eventually to Pittsburgh.

The No. 1 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft was Spencer Torkelson by the Detroit Tigers. Torkelson spent half of the 2021 season with the SeaWolves and has 23 home runs this year with the Tigers.

The No. 1 pick in the 2019 MLB Draft was Adley Rutschman to the Orioles. Rutschman played several games with Bowie in Erie in 2021 and has been in the big leagues for the past two seasons.

The No. 1 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft was former SeaWolves star pitcher Casey Mize, who is known for throwing a no-hitter in his Double-A debut against Altoona. He has been battling injuries over the past few years with the Tigers.

While the No. 1 pick in 2017, Royce Lewis of Minnesota never played in Erie, the 2016 No. 1 pick did. Mickey Moniak played several games with Reading in Erie in 2019 and is currently with the Angels.

More: What’s ahead for Erie SeaWolves with three weeks left in regular season

Defensive gems: Erie SeaWolves make ESPN’s ‘SportsCenter’ Top 10 twice in one week

Contact Tom Reisenweber at Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @ETNreisenweber.

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