Tarik Skubal, LHP, DET

Tigers fans have had little to root for in recent seasons, with most of the excitement being reserved for their minor league system. Particularly their pitcher prospects have been well thought of: Manning, Mize, Faedo, Wentz . . . and Skubal (?). Who is Tarik Skubal, and can he be as good as those other four?

Video courtesy of WICU
  • Born: November 20, 1996
  • B/T: Left/Left
  • 6’3″, 215-lbs
  • Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 9th round of the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft from Seattle University, WA

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Looking at the above we see a lot of green.

His WHIP is excellent. It got a bit worse last year because his walk rate (BB%) doubled while his strikeout rate (K%) dipped slightly. Yet that 1.011 WHIP is still great because he strikes out well more than every third batter he faces! If you have to use only one metric for a minor league pitcher, use K%-BB% since that takes both strikeouts and walks into consideration.

Righties hit .180 against him last year, while lefties hit .233. Both are excellent numbers. In short, he was dominant against everyone, though particularly deadly against left-handed batters.

As Skubal reached Double-A, his K-BB% rate began to climb, and climb, and climb. He leveled off at a very high rate. Higher than he began the year in High-A.

Looking at his spray chart, I see very little in the way of batter pull tendencies. This also speaks to his dominance over both right-handed and left-handed batters.

Looking in the BaseballHQ.com Minor League Baseball Analyst book, we see that Skubal is not in danger of turning into a reliever at the major league level:

He has four pitches that are Average or better (in the book, +++ is average, while ++++ is a Plus pitch), with his Fastball being a plus offering. Nice MPH difference between his changeups compared to his fastball. This is a starter’s repetoire.

The Scouts

Warnings

Not much. He made it to AA last year and all he did was strike out 82 of the 170 batters he faced. That was a great test. Scouts think he could be up as soon as later this year. In spring training he struck out 6 of the 21 batters he faced, so he was given a chance to show what he could do.

The walk rate is a small concern, though his wipeout strikeout rate helps. If he gets his control in better shape, he will be truly dominant.

Conclusion

Get Tarik Skubal on your dynasty team. Now.

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