The Los Angeles Angels are at an odd place just 10 games into the season after losing Josh Hamilton for 6-8 weeks, but also seeing a glimmer of the Albert Pujols they had hoped to see when they signed him. The Angels are also fortunate enough to still have Mike Trout hanging around and being the best player in baseball.
The Angels walked away with another odd victory over the New York Mets on Friday when Hank Conger was hit by a pitch in the 11th inning, but Tyler Skaggs pitched well enough to earn win as he went seven innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and striking out four in a 5-4 Angels victory. Skaggs has had two solid outings to start this seasons.
Skaggs will be one of the most important pitchers in the AL West this season because of where his talent can potentially take the Angels. Skaggs has looked solid early and is throwing like a no. 2 starter. His ability to locate well and keep the ball in the lower part of the zone will lead to bigger and better things for Los Angeles.
His place in the rotation also helps. Skaggs was brought up some in Spring Training talk, but expectations were not nearly set as a high as they were when he was in the minors. Setting the bar relatively low has allowed Skaggs to fly under the radar, and he could make the Angels serious contenders.
No rotation from the other AL West contenders is healthy and set, so having a middle rotation hurler like Skaggs certainly gives the Angels an edge if he can continue to sling it well. Skaggs has a nice two-seamer that sets up around 91 mph that compliments his 94 mph four-seam fastball. The lefty also has an excellent pick-off move which he showcased in the second inning on Friday.
Skaggs’ positioning in the rotation also puts pressure on Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson to perform like the top-of-the-line starters they supposedly are. Skaggs’ success could be contagious and the rest of the rotation could benefit. He will not win the West alone for the Angels, but if he turns into a solid rotation guy, he could muss up the entire division.