Tyler Skaggs has had exactly 13 major league starts coming into this season. Those starts have not exactly gone well, as Skaggs had a 3-6 record with a 5.43 ERA. There have been positives, as Skaggs have given up a hit per inning and has struck out 7.5 per nine; however, his control issues have been a serious concern.
At age 22, there is plenty of time for Skaggs to not only improve, but to become a top of the rotation starter. At this point, with C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver still on board, Skaggs does not need to be that type of pitcher. Yet, with the questions surrounding the back end of the rotation, someone is going to need to step up this season. According to Richard Justice, Skaggs may well be that pitcher, and the key to the Angels season.
Um….what? A 22 year old who has all of 13 major league starts is the key to the Angels season? A pitcher who, theoretically, has not actually been given a role in the rotation and is nominally battling the human petrol can known as Joe Blanton for that final spot? As talented as Tyler Skaggs is, there is still going to be a learning curve and growing pains as he gets acclimated to being a full time major league player. That is the key to the Angels season?
Justice actually came close to what one of the major keys may be for the Angels in 2014. Instead of narrowing the scope strictly to Skaggs, the key, in general, should be the entirety of the final three starters for the Angels this season. Of the expected starters, only Hector Santiago is close to being a known commodity. And Santiago has only 27 games started in his career, with 23 of them coming last year.
How Tyler Skaggs performs during the 2014 season will certainly be important, but it will be no more important than the production of the rest of the rotation. If Skaggs struggles, then he can be sent down to work on his command. If multiple starters struggle, then the Return of Blanton may become a reality.
The Angels need the back of their rotation to perform at a solid level in order to contend. Tyler Skaggs is just one part of that equation.