As if the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 9-22 record was not bad enough, one of the other things working against them this season is the success of Tyler Skaggs.
The key piece in the deal that landed the D-backs slugger Mark Trumbo, the left-hander is 2-0 with a 3.34 ERA in five starts for the L.A. Angels.
Just 22 years old, Skaggs thus far looks more like the pitcher who was one of the D-backs’ top prospects than the one that appeared to be heading toward bust status last season.
With Trumbo on the disabled list and the D-backs struggling to win games, the young pitcher’s success doesn’t do Arizona any favors.
“It doesn’t help that the guy you traded for, and granted it was for all the right reasons — you had to get another hitter in this order, you had to get a right-handed bat and there are so few really good right-handed power hitters in the game,” ESPN MLB analyst Tim Kurkjian told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “But now Mark Trumbo, we’re not sure about his health. We’re not sure, even when he comes back, how healthy he’s going to be.
“But you have to be extra, extra careful trading young pitching, especially young left-handed pitching.”
The Diamondbacks have made a bit of a habit out of trading their top pitching prospects over the years, parting with the likes of Brett Anderson, Max Scherzer, Jarrod Parker, Trevor Bauer, David Holmberg and Skaggs in various deals.
And while not all have gone on to experience success with their new teams, the fact that the D-backs’ current rotation is struggling while being made up of more high-priced veterans than homegrown talent, is concerning.
With the way he’s pitching right now, it would be nice to have Skaggs every fifth game.
“You win with pitching, obviously,” Kurkjian said. “But you win with your own homegrown guys, and that’s why they’ll look at this one and say, ‘Whoa, that probably wasn’t the right thing to do at the moment.'”
But as Kurkjian previously noted, the D-backs did need more power in their lineup, and Trumbo was providing that with seven home runs and 19 RBI before being sidelined with a foot injury. But unless the 28-year-old is a consistently dominant power hitter who helps the D-backs win, the trade will be a tough one for Arizona to come out ahead in.
“Young, left-handed pitching is so hard to come by — especially guys that throw hard at that age with that arm; it’s just really difficult,” Kurkjian said. “And it just looks bad right now, but you’ve got to give it a little more time here, as much as we hate to say that in the media.”