Paul Skenes is taking over the No. 1 spot in our weekly-updated Top 700 Prospect Rankings, overtaking Wyatt Langford by racing to Pittsburgh after going to the Pirates at No. 1 overall in the 2023 MLB draft and dominating the Cubs with six hitless innings in his second career start.

The Pirates’ 21-year-old right-handed pitcher has put up a 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 21 strikeouts in 16 innings over his first three MLB starts after shredding Triple-A with a 0.99 ERA and 45 Ks in 27.1 innings for Indianapolis.

Less than a year ago, Skenes completed one of the best seasons by a pitcher in NCAA history by going 13-2 with a 1.69 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 209 strikeouts in 122.2 innings for LSU and leading the Tigers to their seventh Men’s College World Series championship.

The 6-foot-6, 235-pounder has been lighting up radar guns across the minors on his way to Pittsburgh, regularly breaking triple-digits with his fastball and averaging 99.7 mph on his four-seamer. If it wasn’t already enough that Skenes has 70 grades on his fastball and slider, he has come up with a split-fingered sinker or “splinker” that has been making major-league hitters look foolish.

Skenes took advantage of a slow-starting Langford languishing on the IL with a hamstring strain and Jackson Chourio graduating from prospect status to elevate to the top spot in our rankings (Check out our YouTube video here). While Langford and Chourio have been struggling to establish themselves, Skenes took only until his second start to show that he is ready to take his place among the game’s elite pitchers.

With three elite pitches and a workhorse physique, it’s tough to find a weakness in Skenes’ game. If we’re picking nits, his fastball command was off in his debut and he may need to refine his rarely-used changeup and curveball to broaden his arsenal. There was talk of his “dead-zone” fastball having some problems with its shape coming out of college, but it seems to be working just fine so far.

Now the Pirates have two of the top rookies in the NL this season with Skenes and Jared Jones and it looks like the duo can have a friendly rivalry for who is the ace of the staff. Both are in contention to be the No. 1 pitcher for dynasty leagues.

Skenes’ eye-popping stuff has us dreaming of a Gerrit Cole-like run among the very best fantasy pitchers for years to come, growing his strikeout totals to around 250 per season as he builds up his innings.

Here’s the Top 25 players in this week’s update of the RotoProspects Top 700 Rankings. For the complete list, CLICK HERE

1Paul SkenesSPPITR/RMLB22
2James WoodOFWASL/RAAA21
3Wyatt LangfordOFTEXR/RMLB (rehab)22
4Jackson Holliday2B/SSBALL/RAAA20
5Junior Caminero3BTBR/RAAA20
6Jasson DominguezOFNYYS/RMLB (rehab)21
7Coby Mayo3BBALR/RAAA22
8Walker JenkinsOFMINL/RHigh-A (rehab)19
9Samuel BasalloC/1BBALL/RAA19
10Roman AnthonyOFBOSL/RAA20
11Jordan LawlarSSARIR/RAAA (IL)21
12Jackson JobeSPDETR/RAA (IL)21
13Noelvi Marte3BCINR/RMLB (susp.)22
14Cade HortonSPCHCR/RAAA22
15Andy PagesOFLADR/RMLB23
16Matt Shaw3BCHCR/RAA22
17Dylan CrewsOFWASR/RAA22
18Spencer JonesOFNYYL/LAA23
19Brady House3BWASR/RAA21
20Christian ScottSPNYMR/RMLB25
21Carson WilliamsSSTBR/RAA21
22Jett WilliamsSSNYMR/RAA (IL)20
23Colt EmersonSSSEAL/RLow-A (IL)18
24Shane BazSPTBR/RAAA25
25Emmanuel RodriguezOFMINL/LAA21