Jump to content
  • Welcome to AngelsWin.com

    AngelsWin.com - THE Internet Home for Angels fans! Unraveling Angels Baseball ... One Thread at a Time.

    Register today to join the most interactive online Angels community on the net!

    Once you're a member you'll see less advertisements. Become a Premium member and you won't see any ads! 



OC Register: Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs answers doubters with results

Recommended Posts

OAKLAND — For the past few years, Tyler Skaggs has been the subject of, at best, skepticism, and, at worst, downright anger.

He’s well aware. He read the articles from critical baseball writers and the Tweets from disgruntled fans.

In fact, he kept them.

“I have a lot of saved Tweets in my phone that I look at to fire myself up,” the Angels left-hander said.

These days, Skaggs’ numbers have caught up to his potential, finally, which means that years worth of negative feedback from fans and the media provide him a little extra satisfaction.

“Twitter is a fickle place,” Skaggs said. “I’ve seen a lot of things over the past few years that have hurt my pride. When I’m on the mound, I think I’m pretty good. I had some rough outings here and there. When I’m completely healthy, there are not a lot of people who can do what I can do with a baseball. I think I proved that coming up through the minor leagues. I was a top prospect for a reason.”

The 40th overall pick in the 2009 draft, out of Santa Monica High, Skaggs was one of the key prospects the Angels dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010 to get Dan Haren. Heading into the 2013 season with Arizona, he was a consensus top-20 prospect, ranked as high as 10th by MLB.com.

Sign up for Home Turf and get 3 exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.

Since then, his career has been rocky. There were a couple rough cameos with the Diamondbacks as a 21-year-old, followed by a trade back to the Angels, followed by Tommy John surgery, a shoulder problem and a strained oblique.

Even when he was healthy, he showed only flashes of his talent, interrupted by struggles.

Now, still a month shy of his 27th birthday, Skaggs has finally shown consistently who he always knew he could be.

He has a 3.08 ERA through a team-leading 73 innings. He has not missed a turn, and not even had a hint of an injury.

“He’s just kind of putting everything together,” said Angels pitching coach Charlie Nagy, who was also Skaggs’ pitching coach in Arizona. “He’s confident out there. He feels good about what he’s doing. He’s working hard between starts. He’s attacking the hitters a lot better. He’s throwing all his pitches and it’s equated to success.”

All his pitches.

Perhaps the greatest tangible improvement for Skaggs to get to this point is the addition of his changeup. Skaggs always had a fastball and a sharp curve, but he’d never been able to master a third pitch. He experimented with a cutter and a slider and several kinds of changeups. Although statistical websites show Skaggs throwing changeups in previous years, he said those were never actual changeups, just half-hearted attempts or “BP fastballs.”

Over the winter, he finally found a changeup grip that seems to have worked, and he finally learned to throw the pitch with the required conviction to sell it to the hitters.

He’s thrown the changeup 11.2 percent of the time, and hitters have hit .188 when putting it in play. They’ve also swung and missed at it 15.4 percent of the time, which is the highest whiff rate of his three pitches.

The pitch’s “coming out party,” so to speak, was an April 23 game in Houston. Skaggs outpitched the Astros’ Gerrit Cole, who is having one of the best seasons in baseball, and he shut out the powerful Astros over seven innings. In that game, he threw 21 changeups, and he recorded 10 of his 21 outs on the pitch.

“It’s made a lot of difference,” Skaggs said this week. “Fastball, curveball, 50 percent of the time you’re going to (guess) right. I think it’s nice to throw a third pitch in there.”

The changeup has also helped throw off the timing of hitters against his fastball. The whiff rate on his fastball is 11.1 percent this year, after being 7.3 percent the past three years.

Aside from the addition of the third pitch, Skaggs said his mechanics are now more locked in than ever, which is probably just a matter of taking the ball consistently without any injury interruptions. He’s also finally settled on the third-base side of the rubber, after spending his early years “all over the place,” he said.

“I was so young,” he said. “I was out there trying to figure it out. Now I’ve had so much time off, so much time to watch games and talk to these guys, I feel like I’ve matured.”

Which brings us back to his phone. If he begins to slump and needs a little motivation, it’s right there.

“There are a lot of people that had a lot of doubt,” Skaggs said. “That’s to be expected. I’ve missed a lot of games. I haven’t pitched well when I did come back. I had bright spots, but I wasn’t that consistent. But I know what I can do when I’m physically strong. I’m not going to be too confident. I’m going to take it one day at a time. That’s the motto. Never look too far ahead.”


The Angels had no new information to release on Thursday night regarding the follow up tests on Garrett Richards or Zack Cozart, according to Club spokesman Tim Mead. Richards said Wednesday he was to have an MRI on Thursday, after straining his left hamstring. Cozart also said he expected to undergo further tests after he strained his left shoulder.


Angels (Tyler Skaggs, 5-4, 3.08) vs. A’s (Chris Bassitt, 0-1, 1.29), Friday, 6:30 p.m., Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM)

View the full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...