After undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2014, Tyler Skaggs returned last season to log 89 innings, including rehab appearances and a 10-start run in the big league rotation. His 22.8 percent strikeout rate was better than any such rate in three big league seasons before the elbow surgery, so his stuff rebounded nicely. However, as is often the case with pitchers returning from that procedure, Skaggs' control was not all the way back to its pre-surgery form, leading to a career-worst 10.5 percent walk rate. There were flashes of brilliance, including four starts where he allowed zero earned runs and struck out 27 over 24.1 innings. Then he dealt with forearm tightness that caused him to miss three weeks in September, but he was fortunately cleared of any UCL damage. A 6-foot-5 southpaw with a 93 mph fastball, plus curveball and solid changeup, Skaggs still has the ingredients to be a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. The recent elbow injury and the fact he has not yet put it all together could lead to a draft day bargain.
Skaggs (1-1) threw seven innings of two-run ball Saturday, walking two and striking out four in a win over the Blue Jays. The young southpaw has turned things around recently, going seven innings in each of his last two starts, bringing his ERA back down to a respectable 4.44 in the process. Skaggs mixed his pitches well in this one, keeping the ball low and inducing two inning-ending double plays. While fantasy owners are always looking for strikeouts, keeping opposing hitters off balance and inducing weak contact (only one extra-base hit surrendered Saturday) can produce positive results in the ERA category. The 25-year-old has shown inconsistency in the past, so it wouldn't be wise to consider him a must-start going forward, especially with a matchup against the Rangers in Arlington looming Friday.
Skaggs allowed four hits while walking two and striking out nine over seven scoreless innings for a no-decision in Sunday's 1-0 loss to the Royals. It was a much-needed solid outing for the young lefty, who had allowed five earned runs in each of his first two starts of 2016. He kept the walks down again, which is encouraging considering he struggled with command coming back from Tommy John surgery last year. Skaggs now has 19 strikeouts in 17.1 innings. His strikeout abilities are not in question, but he must demonstrate more consistency before he's a viable pitcher to use for all of his starts in mixed leagues.
Skaggs allowed five runs on eight hits -- including two homers -- over five innings against Texas on Tuesday. He struck out five, walked two and hit a batter. The young lefty has opened the season with consecutive five-run outings; at least in the last one, he managed to pitch into the sixth inning. Skaggs' swing-and-miss stuff is unquestionable, but his control is suspect and he's been giving up some hard hits. He's a risky, matchup-dependent fantasy option at this point.
Skaggs (0-1) struggled in his first start of the season, giving up five runs on five hits over 5.1 innings Thursday. He walked three and struck out five in a loss to the Athletics. Skaggs got off to a good start Thursday, cruising through the first two innings before watching his outing unravel in the third. A sudden loss of control -- that was capped off by a two-run homer off the bat of Ryon Healy -- took away any possibility of a strong debut for the young southpaw. Skaggs was a tough pitcher to value this past offseason due to the combination of his high potential and shaky injury history. Seasoned fantasy owners know not to overreact to one poor outing, but those in shallower leagues may want to evaluate whether or not they want to put up with a pitcher who could take them on a roller coaster ride of highs and lows this season. Taking a wait-and-see approach for his next start against a potent Rangers lineup next Wednesday wouldn't be a bad idea.
Skaggs will start Thursday against the A's. Manager Mike Scioscia had held off on formally naming Skaggs to the rotation, but the expectation all along was that Skaggs would start the fourth game of the season. While Skaggs went just four innings in his final Cactus League start, he built up to 90 pitches in a minor-league outing to close out spring training, so he should be available for a full workload Thursday.