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Scouting Angels Draft Pick Tyler Skaggs

June 8, 2009 BY ALEX EISENBERG 6 Comments

Continuing our look at some of the draft’s top high school left handed pitching prospects, we turn our sights to Tyler Skaggs.

Also See Reports on Tyler Matzek and Matt Purke

Tyler Skaggs | LHP | Santa Monica High School in California

Label – The Sleeper Pick

Signability – I believe Skaggs is considered to be a signable high school pick

Teams Linked to Skaggs – Many teams in the bottom portion of the first round have a link to Skaggs. Arizona has been mentioned as have the Angels, Brewers, White Sox as potential landing spots for Skaggs. The Mariners are a potential fit as well.

Body Type – Very projectable at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds

Stuff

Fastball – Mostly ranges between 88 – 92…works down in the zone and has pretty good tailing action…definitely a candidate for a potential increase in velocity

Curveball – Big breaking 12-to-7 curveball…has the potential to be a knee-buckling pitch, but it needs some tightening..an average offering for now, the pitch has above average, maybe even plus potential

Change-Up – Doesn’t have much of one at the moment as it’s still in development…the lack of a change-up is one thing that places him below Purke and Matzek on draft boards

Mechanics

As a whole, I really like his mechanics. His delivery is repeatable and relatively compact. Skaggs drifts through his balance point and leads with his hips, using momentum to his advantage. He takes a long stride and really does a good job of finishing his pitches and getting extension out in front. The benefit of that stride and extension is the ball is getting on hitters a little quicker than his velocity would indicate. Skaggs had a problem landing stiffly on his front leg, but he’s fixed the problem by landing in a more athletic position.

Two flaws I see in Skaggs’ mechanics is an inconsistent finish as well as inconsistent front side mechanics. What are ideal front side mechanics? Well, it varies by the individual, but the basics of it is for the pitcher to firm up the glove in an effort to keep the front shoulder from flying open, which helps with a pitcher’s command and ability to stay healthy. The glove should be held out firm in front of the pitcher’s chest and the pitcher should bring the chest to the glove instead of the other way around.

Here are two side shots of Skaggs during the same outing.

tyler-skaggs-mechanicstyler-skaggs
*Credit to the MLB Scouting Bureau

Neither version displays good front side mechanics, but the one on the right is worse, as he lets his glove drop down by his knee. Skaggs is a little lazy when it comes to firming up his front side. He firms up, but he does it more out by his side than in front of his chest. If he can clean up his front-side mechanics, he’d lessen the pounding his shoulder takes and improve his command, especially on his breaking ball.

It’s also easy to notice the different finishes possessed by Skaggs. He lands stiffly on the left, while the leg is more bent on the right. Ideally, a pitcher’s mechanics should be consistent in every aspect. Otherwise, the pitcher usually will battle inconsistency in his performance and may be a higher risk for injury.

Other Notes

Like Matzek and Purke, Skaggs is a good athlete and coordinates his movements well, especially for a guy his size. He features pretty good control of all his pitches, but inconsistent command. He generally has a good idea of what he wants to do on the mound and how to mix-and-match his pitches.

Best Case Outcome – Solid middle of the rotation starter with a small chance to develop into a front of the rotation starter

More Likely Outcome – Middle of the rotation starter…if he fails to develop his change-up, he could be used in a relief role.

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  • 6 Comments »

    • Farm Report « Play The Red Cards said:

      [...] Intellect?Tyler Skaggs????????????????????????? Tyler Skaggs-LHP-Santa Monica High [...]

    • blackoutyears said:

      Another nice entry, Alex. A couple of things: that glove sweep is similar to the one I see (and don’t like) with Purke. Hopefully it’s easily fixed after the draft in both cases. On the other hand, Skaggs’ bent front leg and overall mechanics seem to compare favorably to video you posted of Clayton Kershaw in your Kershaw-Matusz comp. Obviously Kershaw was a superior prospect, but Skaggs has a good build and sound mechanics. How likely do you think it is that he reaches his ceiling, and have you heard anything about a third pitch?

    • Alex Eisenberg (author) said:

      blackoutyears, I’d agree Skaggs and Kershaw share similar finishes and both possess long strides. How they get there is different though as Kershaw is more of a drop-and-drive guy. Kershaw reaches a balance point, drops the leg, and then drives powerfully toward home plate picking up speed where it counts, while Skaggs drifts through his balance point and moves pretty quickly throughout his entire delivery.

      Kershaw has more natural ability than Skaggs, better arm strength and speed, more torque between his torso and hips. He stays closed for a longer period than Skaggs.

      But you’re right, Skaggs is a solid guy in his own right. I’m not sure how likely it is he’ll reach his ceiling. That’s the things with these prospects, we look for projectable arms, but some guys develop and others don’t. But given his body type and his overall athleticism, Skaggs is a good bet to add velocity in the future. You also have to look at the organization that drafts Skaggs. LA has a pretty good reputation for developing pitching, so that’s a plus for Skaggs.

      Another problem in evaluating high school pitchers is that the descriptions of a pitcher’s third pitch are extremely vague. The most I’ve heard about Skaggs’ change-up is that he didn’t have much of one at this time and that it was a developing pitch.

    • blackoutyears said:

      Thanks for the reply, Alex. Informative as always. The reference to Skaggs’ drift is right on the money imo. I think much of the projectability for which he’s lauded lies in better lower half mechanics. I do find it amusing when scouts and prospect pundits harp on how thin he supposedly is, and how they don’t like his frame for adding weight, when any picture/video of Zack Wheeler or Matt Purke shows them to be just as slender if not moreso. I do worry about Purke’s frame. He’s going to need to go on a cookie dough and french fry diet. Skaggs is actually much stronger through the butt and thighs than I expected and looks strong already. Thanks for the great video. You’re saving me a lot of work!

    • Alex Eisenberg (author) said:

      blackout, I actually haven’t heard about Skaggs having trouble adding weight. I do think Purke will have that problem. Wheeler is definitely lean now, but his frame is very projectable.

    • Tyler Skaggs: Top Angels Prospect #9 | Angels Baseball Talk said:

      [...] scouting video and scouting report just before the draft.  Baseball Intellect also published this scouting report, which highlights some of the front side and landing mechanics issues that Skaggs is no doubt [...]