Though Tyler Skaggs is looking to tackle each element of the MLB learning curve one at a time, he is still waiting for his skill to really take over.
You know, the stuff that gave him the credentials as one of baseball’s top prospects, and that make it look like he might just be the next young arm from the Arizona Diamondbacks to take the league by storm after he made his 2013 debut with a six-inning, nine-strikeout scoreless gem against the offense of the big, bad Texas Rangers?
Well, following that was never going to be easy, not that pitching against big-league hitters are expected to be; that said, poor encores appear to be a developing theme for the young lefty here.
Take his latest turn with the Diamondbacks on Monday, for example. Skaggs’ first post-break start wasn’t bad per se — in fact, it was a quality start with just three runs allowed through six innings and six strikeouts; however, you might say that the line was accomplished in spite of himself rather than a result of what he offered on the mound.
Yes, he managed to avoid allowing a free pass for the first time in three starts, but only one out of his six innings were clean. And considering that there were a pair of homers mixed into the seven his he allowed to the Chicago Cubs, the 22-year old really needed a fair dose of magic to end up with a QS in the losing effort … because it could have gotten a whole lot worse.
The frustrating thing about the Diamondbacks, of course, is that they know the southpaw can be a whole lot better.
He’s shown it in flashes, like the eight-inning, three hit scoreless gem he twirled at the beginning of July. This is an arm that is capable of being a no. 2 pitcher for the team yet, but whether it’s walks or home runs, Skaggs’ vices are coming through more often than the skills he has to offer right now; and just like earlier in the season, he’ll have to have an encore worthy of the promise he showed to stick around for the long run.
Then again, considering his age, it’s not like the Diamondbacks are necessarily in a whole lot of hurry for that to happen either.