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Pittsburgh Pirates right-handed prospect Paul Skenes, the No. 1 pick in last summer's draft and the top pitching prospect in the minors, made his fourth consecutive scoreless start to begin the season on Thursday night. As with the previous three outings, he was under a restrictive pitch count.

Indeed, Skenes delivered a career-high 65 pitches across 3 1/3 innings vs. the St. Paul Saints (the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins). He allowed one hit and two walks, and he struck out eight of the 14 batters he faced. 

After the game, Skenes expressed some frustration with how the Pirates are managing his workload: "I wasn't happy," he told about being removed in the fourth inning. "But it's over [manager Miguel Perez's] head. It's over my head."

Skenes has now tallied 19 1/3 innings across nine professional appearances. The Pirates have played it low and slow with his exposure after seeing him throw more than 120 innings for LSU last collegiate season. It's worth noting that the Pirates have also treated rookie sensation Jared Jones in a conservative manner.

On the year, Skenes has given up a total of five hits and four walks in 12 2/3 innings. He's struck out 57.4% of the batters he's faced, showing off a power arsenal. CBS Sports wrote the following of him just last week:

Skenes' arsenal is very much based on power: his fastball has averaged 100 mph, his swing-and-miss slider checks in at 87 mph, and a new splitter-changeup contraption he's loosed this spring clocks in at 95 mph. (Some change of pace, huh?) The slowest pitch in his bag is a curveball that, on average, registers at 84 mph.

It's unclear when, precisely, the Pirates intend to debut Skenes in the majors. It is worth noting that enough time has passed this MLB season for them to gain an additional year of team control over his services.