Do you play in a deep league and are searching out the next diamond in the rough? Here are two names who have gotten off to strong starts, which at least should put them on your radars:
Tarik Skubal – Detroit Tigers – Left-Handed Pitcher
It’s easy to overlook Skubal, a 9th round selection in 2018. After primarily working out of the bullpen last season (8 of 9 appearances came in relief), the Tigers have moved him into the rotation at High-A and over his first three starts he’s yielded impressive results:
- 04/05/19 – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K
- 04/10/19 – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 K
- 04/15/19 – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 10 K
All told that’s 20 K vs. 3 BB over 16.0 IP for the southpaw. While the one “knock”, at least from the numbers themselves, would be a 0.56 GO/AO to an extent that’s splitting hairs. Obviously it indicates that home runs could be an issue, and you also could argue that he’s old for the level (Skubal is currently 22-years old). Those are fair points, and will help to steer people away from making the investment.
At the same time don’t think of him as your standard ninth round selection. Tommy John surgery cost him time in 2016 and all of 2017 in college, so you could easily argue that he was still getting right in 2018. As noted by MLB.com this preseason:
The Tigers saw untapped potential in Skubal for that very same reason, and they went above slot to sign him for $350,000 after taking him in the ninth round.
Obviously there’s a long ways to go, but Skubal is at least showing a little bit of promise and the potential to emerge. While he isn’t on radars yet, he’s a name to keep an eye on.
Verdict – On the Rise
Rhett Wiseman – Washington Nationals – Outfielder
Obviously the 8 HR over 48 AB at Double-A is going to be the attention grabber for the 24-year old, but is that really the most impressive mark? For a player who hit 21 HR over 407 AB at High-A a year ago there clearly is a little bit of pop, but it’s the sudden development in his plate discipline that may be more important… Or is there one?
- 2018 – 25.5% strikeout rate, 17.7% SwStr%
- 2019 – 21.4% strikeout rate, 14.0% SwStr%
It’s a positive sign, but is it enough? Obviously the home run pace is going to slow and with swings and misses still being a significant part of his game it’s impossible to envision the production continuing.
At least he’s saying the right thing, as per this quote from Joe Bloss of MILB.com (click here for the full article):
“I’m trying to just take it one pitch at a time and stay within my approach and try to keep it even, keep it balanced. The last thing I want to do in this game is get too cocky or be overconfident, because that’s when this game will bring you right back down to where you need to be.”
What he’s doing at least makes him intriguing, but for now we’d remain skeptical.
Verdict – Monitor from a distance
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs