There’s already been a lot of talk this spring about the veteran leadership on the Arizona Diamondbacks’ roster, but there’s also a lot of interest in the crop of rising young stars that could carry a lot of the load. One of those young stars is left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Skaggs was originally drafted by the Angels in 2009 as the 40th overall pick but was sent to Arizona in 2010 as part of the Dan Haren trade. Skaggs started to make his mark in the Majors last season, and he’s ready to drop the long bus rides and travel of Triple-A altogether.
“Oh no it was definitely motivating,” he said of sticking with the D-backs. “The Major Leagues is a lifelong dream, so nothing gets better than that. I’m coming in confident this year based off my starts from last year.”
The 21-year-old had six starts with the Diamondbacks last season and finished with a 1-3 record and a 5.83 ERA. In the minor leagues he’s 27-17 with a 2.98 ERA.
“I learned a lot of things,” said Skaggs on Friday after their workout. “It was a stepping stone in my career and I know that I have the confidence to know that I’m able pitch in the big leagues and succeed in the big leagues, so I’m excited.”
There’s also some speculation as to who is going to take that fifth spot in the starting rotation. Skaggs isn’t the only one with big league experience, an above average arm and a competitive nature.
“It’s going to be good. Me and (Patrick) Corbin are really good friends and I know Randall (Delgado) is a good pitcher, so it’s going to be exciting. I’m just going to go out there and show them what I got.”
Corbin, who is also a lefty, has 107 innings to Skaggs’ 29 and 22 appearances to Tyler’s six at the Major League level. Corbin was also impressive the second time he was called up from Triple A Reno for Arizona last season in a relief role.
Delgado is another young player, and he arrived from the Braves this off season in the Justin Upton trade. The right-handed pitcher just turned 23 on February 9th, and has spent parts of the previous two seasons in the majors. In his time there he compiled a 3.95 ERA over 127.2 innings with 94 strikeouts.
Skaggs also mentioned the addition of veteran righty Brandon McCarthy from the A’s, yet another solid starter vying for a spot. “I’m just getting to know McCarthy and he’s a really good guy, so it’s exciting.”
The 29-year-old McCarthy has made 153 major league appearances in his career with over 650 innings pitched.
“It’s a phenomenal starting staff. I’d like to put our staff up against any other starting staff in the big leagues. It’s going to be an interesting year,” said Skaggs. “The good thing is that we’re all really close friends.”