What Bauer, Skaggs Need to Fix for 2013
In some ways, it’s hard to envy Tyler Skaggs — yes, the 21-year-old strong-armed hurler entering the prime of his pitching life. In some ways, not all ways. Here is one: When Skaggs was traded from the Angels in Aug. 2010, he was a bright prospect to be sure, but he didn’t bring with him the sort of homegrown, battling-back-from-Tommy John surgery tale that attracted Arizona D-backs faithful to right-hander Jarrod Parker. This seemed to be fine by Skaggs who was still a lanky left-hander learning his craft on the Minors’ lower rungs.
Then, five months before Parker was traded to the Athletics in December, the D-backs went out and drafted another fire-balling righty in Trevor Bauer. And few ballplayers yield as much attention from the media and the fans because Bauer not only throws nine different pitches (he invented one of them), produces YouTube videos of his mound mechanics (and his musical performances) — he is also willing to discuss all of his zanier interests with any clubhouse visitor.
Skaggs, whom I have interviewed on five occasions for MiLB.com, is a very smart, at times thoughtful, interviewee, too. But it is obvious that he is less interested in what happens on the periphery, beyond the diamond’s white lines, or he is at least reticent to share his observations. As a result — fairly or unfairly –Skaggs has never been the No. 1 guy, and it was difficult to mention his name without comparing him to Parker and, nowadays, Bauer.
In this case, however, a juxtaposition might be justified: Bauer and Skaggs are Arizona’s top-ranked prospects and both excelled in the Minors in 2012 before finding little sweetness in their first cup of coffee in the Majors. So both need to make adjustments to be their best selves in ’13. They’re on no strict deadline, but Skaggs — and Bauer — might be overshadowed by this fellow farmhand soon enough.
Tyler Skaggs in the Minors: 9-6 — 2.87 ERA — 22 Gs — 122 1/3 IP — 37 BBs — 116 Ks
Skaggs in the Majors: 1-3 — 5.83 ERA — 6 Gs — 29 1/3 IP — 13 BBs — 21 Ks
Skaggs going forward: “He’s gotten a little bit tired, which is understandable when you jump two levels. For him, it will be managing that. Each year, it gets easier. You pitch in the big leagues with fans, pressure, eyes on you — its different than pitching in Mobile.” — D-backs player development director Mike Bell
Trevor Bauer in the Minors: 12-2 — 2.42 ERA — 22 Gs — 130 1/3 IP — 61 BBs — 157 Ks
Bauer in the Majors: 1-2 — 6.06 ERA — 4 Gs — 16 1/3 IP — 13 BBs — 17 Ks
Bauer going forward: “I am anxious to see what changes he’s made next spring. I don’t think Trevor is ever going to make a ton of changes — he is always making subtle changes. In time, he’ll get more efficient, I think, possibly. But you can’t argue with his numbers.” — D-backs player development director Mike Bell