Coming Soon To A Stadium Near You: Tyler Skaggs, LHSP, Arizona Diamondbacks

July 8, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; USA pitcher Tyler Skaggs throws a pitch during the fifth inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE

Every Monday through the rest of the minor league season, I'll be taking a look at a prospect who is either at AA or AAA, and could potentially have an impact on your fantasy season this year. Today's prospect came into the season as one of a trio of top pitching prospects in the Diamondbacks organization, but wasn't considered the most likely to get to the Majors this year. Despite that, Tyler Skaggs is probably the most likely to be brought up before the end of the season by the club. Let's take a look at how he has gotten to this point, and what he could provide for fantasy owners.

The Basics

Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 195 lbs.
On 40-man roster: No

His History

Skaggs was a supplemental 1st round pick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim back in 2009, and ended up signing for a bonus of $1 million. He was able to pitch 10 innings across 2 rookie levels that first year, and was sent to the Midwest League to start the 2010 season. With Cedar Rapids, Skaggs finished with 82 strikeouts and 21 walks in 82 1/3 innings before being included in the Dan Haren trade that season.

At this point, the Diamondbacks left Skaggs in the Midwest League, where he notched 20 more strikeouts against just 4 walks in 16 innings pitched. The team promoted him to High-A Visalia for the start of the 2011 season, where he really thrived. After striking out 125 batters in 100 innings and posting a 3.22 ERA in the high offense environment, Skaggs was promoted again to AA Mobile despite being just 19 years old. He finished up the year there, and returned to start this year.

As a part of the strong Mobile rotation, Skaggs made 13 starts there, with a 71/21 K/BB rate and a 2.84 ERA. Promoted to AAA Reno, Skaggs struggled in his first start, but has since been excellent, and has 45 strikeouts in 52 innings pitched in another high offense environment.

What's Stopping Him From Contributing Now?

Realistically, the fact that Skaggs is not on the 40 man roster is probably the biggest issue right now. That said, according to MLB Depth Charts the Diamondbacks do have an open spot on their 40 man roster right now. However, with 5 starting pitchers all pitching well right now, Skaggs may not see the bigs until after September 1st.

What Could He Do For Fantasy Owners When He Gets There?

Skaggs has been very good at controlling home runs, and add in that he has been a high strikeout pitcher throughout the minors, and you're looking at a potentially #3 or #4 fantasy starting pitcher in the long term. He seems likely to me to provide around a strikeout per inning, along with a relatively low WHIP and ERA despite pitching half his games in a hitters' park.

When Could He Arrive?

There has been some noise that Skaggs would be the next pitcher called should the Diamondbacks need a starting pitcher, even ahead of top draft pick Trevor Bauer. Either way, I think Skaggs is likely up when rosters expand in September.

Conclusions

Skaggs looks to me like he will be a very good starting pitcher for fantasy owners once he is cemented into the rotation, even in spite of the fact that he just turned 21 last month. The Diamondbacks may not have a spot for him this season, but look out at the start of next year, as he could be a very good sleeper for redraft leagues and should be targeted this year in any dynasty leagues where he is available.

Sources:

Baseball America
Baseball Reference
MLB Depth Charts

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