Diamondbacks pitcher Tyler Skaggs received his first win in Spring Training against the Cleveland Indians Thursday, and he didn’t think he’d be around long enough to get one.
“Honestly I didn’t expect to be here this long. I didn’t expect to be within 10 days of breaking camp, so I’m just gonna keep my fingers crossed and work hard,” Skaggs told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf. “Just gonna work as hard as I can, keep my head down and kind of fly under the radar and hopefully they keep me here.”
This is the first Spring Training for the 20-year-old, who’s racked up a 7.43 ERA in his five appearances. Skaggs admitted he came into Spring Training thinking he wouldn’t have much to learn but soon found out he hasn’t “even scratched the surface of figuring it out.”
Like most young pitchers, Skaggs turned to veteran players for advice about everything.
“They help me on and off the field. In the dugout, they call me over there and make me sit next to them and really focus and study the game,” Skaggs said. “I’d say that’s one of the keys about this Spring Training is really the learning of big-league hitters and how to pitch in a big league game.”
Skaggs said the more experienced players helped him improve his change-ups when down in the count, throwing off-speed pitches, and basic bunting and hitting. But he’s also been learning how to go “about your business as a big-leaguer” and stay out of trouble off the field, which may improve his chances to stay with the team.
“I have to just be way, way, way more mature than a 20-year-old should act, and really go out there and just really throw strikes and throw more strikes and dominate,” Skaggs said. “As a 20-year-old, it’s going to take a lot to break with a major league team.”
And Skaggs won’t be disheartened if he’s sent back down to the minors, because he knows he still has a lot to learn.
“Honestly, I won’t be disappointed one bit. I’ve been here longer than I expected, I’ve been here longer than most people have expected, I’ve kind of opened some eyes and broken expectations, and I’m just going to take it down to the minors and really show that I can dominate down there, and hopefully get a chance to come back up here,” Skaggs said.