WATCH: Cedar Rapids Prep Learns He’ll Start on Opening Day of Major League Baseball Season
A former high school baseball player in Cedar Rapids is about to realize what has undoubtedly been a lifelong dream. Video of the moment he learned what would happen in a few weeks is priceless.
Mitch Keller was born in Cedar Rapids and went to Cedar Rapids Xavier High School. After a great career with the Saints, he planned to play college baseball at North Carolina. That is until he was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. His signing bonus was $1 million.
Keller worked through the Pirates farm system, first arriving in the big leagues in 2019. The road was rough but prior to the 2022 season, Keller worked diligently on increasing the speed of his fastball. He also added two pitches to his repertoire, including a sinker.
Last season, Keller through by far the most innings of his major league career (159) and his ERA was just 3.91.
Pirates manager Derek Shelton told MLB.com Wednesday night that Keller is "taking charge." Earlier in the day, he'd called Keller into his office to give him some very exciting news:
Last night, Shelton shared with MLB.com, “It was actually pretty emotional for him. He was pretty fired up. Those are special moments. This is a kid who was a very highly touted prospect and had to grind a little bit and discovered himself. It was a cool moment. Gave him a bottle of champagne and told him and [his wife] Clancy to enjoy it.”
Keller and his high school sweetheart, Clancy, got married in eastern Iowa a couple of years ago. Here they are last season at PNC Park, where the Pirates play:
Congratulations on the starting nod... to both of you. It's obviously a team effort, and we're not talking about just the Pittsburgh Pirates. Good luck on opening day, March 30 in Cincinnati, and throughout the 2023 season.
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