Coming into the LA Angels season, the fanfare was all about their new ace, Shohei Ohtani. However, Tyler Skaggs has undeniably been the best starter for the Halos in the first half of 2018.
The LA Angels have been having another unlucky year in terms of starting pitching health. At the moment, the only healthy Halos starters from their Opening Day rotation are Andrew Heaney and Skaggs. Heaney has seen ups and downs this year, but Skaggs has been light out.
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He passes the eye test with ease. He owns a 2.69 ERA, fifth best among left-handed starters in the MLB. His 9.7 strikeouts-per-nine innings is a career high, as well as his 94 strikeouts on the season.
The one stat that does not impress with Skaggs is his 6-5 record as a starter. However, he has only had 3.53 runs of support per outing, almost an entire run worse than the Angels usual 4.48 runs per game.
Skaggs has had only two bad outings this year. His most recent outing was a remarkable seven innings of one run pitching, where he struck out eight Royals in Kansas City. It was one of his best performances of the year, but the Halo offense supplied no runs, and lost 2-0.
In his first fully healthy season in the bigs, Skaggs has finally turned into the first round pick that the Angels selected in 2009. He has dominated batters and is only getting better as the year goes on. In four starts in June, Skaggs has a 0.67 ERA, is striking out 29% of batters, and has yet to allow a home run. The absence of home runs is especially good, given he allowed six big flies in May.
2018 Midseason Grade: A-
Skaggs has been everything the Angels could have hoped for this year, and then some. The only downside to his game has been some inefficiency. All four of Skaggs’ starts this month have involved him throwing more than 100 pitches, and that is due to allowing too many hits. If he can get those pitch counts down, he can go deeper into games and help the Angels and himself win more games.
While no one was focused on Tyler Skaggs and his 4.59 career ERA coming into 2018, he is now the LA Angels bona fide ace, and he is only improving his game.