Star MLB Pitcher Plans to Serve His Country After MLB Career

Pittsburgh Pirates phenom Paul Skenes already has post-MLB plans.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports wrote a feature on Skenes. He spoke with Skenes' former college coach from the Air Force Academy.

Mike Kazlausky stays in contact with Skenes. They’ve discussed Skenes’ desire to serve his country after baseball.

"He will serve his country in some manner moving forward," Kazlausky said. "It’s just a matter of when. We’ll get him back in the military once his professional playing days are over.

"It’s a big deal for Paul to be able to serve our country."

Nightengale’s feature explored service academies’ sports policies. Skenes would have served five years in the Air Force if he stayed beyond two years. Only then could he pursue MLB.

Skenes transferred to LSU, where his pitching excelled. He became the No. 1 pick by the Pirates last year. At LSU, he had a 1.69 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. He was the College World Series Most Outstanding Player and National Pitcher of the Year.

His decision paid off. Skenes dominated minor league opponents before debuting in the MLB.

In his debut, Skenes struck out seven in four innings, despite allowing three earned runs. Two of those runs scored when relievers struggled.

Skenes’ second start was even better. He gave up no hits over six innings with 11 strikeouts and one walk. His ERA dropped to 2.70 over two starts.

The Pirates hope Skenes can be their long-term ace. He’s off to a strong start. But his call to duty remains important to him, as his old coach notes.