The Pittsburgh Pirates have been one of the surprise teams of MLB this season.
No one expected them to compete for anything substantial this season.
But, they find themselves only one game out of first place in the NL Central.
You can look at a few different spots as to why the Pirates have overachieved.
But the one most impressive has been the play of starting pitcher Mitch Keller.
He has been dominant this season, especially at striking out opposing batters.
According to Joe Block, Keller is the first Pirates pitcher to strike out 8+ batters in seven consecutive games.
Mitch Keller first Pirates pitcher to strike out 8+ batters in 7 consecutive games
— Joe Block (@joe_block) May 31, 2023
Keller was once a top-20 prospect in baseball but never seemed to get it going throughout his career.
He pitched four seasons previous to this and only had an ERA under 4.00 one time.
But it appears he has finally honed the skills that made him a top prospect.
Keller is striking hitters out at an elite rate, as he has thrown 74.2 innings with 93 strikeouts on the year.
Pittsburgh lacked an ace coming into the season, but it is clear they have found theirs in Keller.
It is hard to not see Keller as one of the top Cy Young candidates in the National League.
He leads the NL in wins and innings pitched.
While many people are expecting the Pirates to eventually fade off, that may not be the case.
They have a solid group of veteran players led by Bryan Reynolds that continue to play well.
If they can continue to get great pitching from Keller and the rest of their staff they could surprise some people.NEXT: Andrew McCutchen Has Reached An Impressive Pirates Mark