Diamondbacks lefty Tyler Skaggs graces the most recent cover of Baseball America, the Futures Game issue. We like to salute a top prospect in the All-Star Game's host city, and even in a strong year for Arizona's minor league system, Skaggs stands out from the crowd for his taming the California League.
In his start for high Class A Visalia yesterday, the 19-year-old Skaggs pitched into the eighth inning for the first time this season. He finished with nine strikeouts and two walks over 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits to Inland Empire. Skaggs leads the Cal League with 111 strikeouts and ranks second to Modesto's Dan Houston with a 1.18 WHIP. He's given up just six homers in 15 starts—though he does pitch in the division without High Desert and Lancaster.
Regardless, Skaggs is one of 19 qualified minor league pitchers this season to tally more strikeouts (111) than baserunners (110), if just barely. He's the only pitcher to do so exclusively in the Cal League.
Diamondbacks senior vice president for scouting and player development Jerry DiPoto has said from Day One that Skaggs was a key piece in last July's Dan Haren trade with the Angels—even though the trade could have been especially disruptive for Skaggs, who grew up an Angels fan in Southern California.
"We're happy with the quality of his pitches and the plane on his fastball," DiPoto said in a recent interview. "His arm works the way you want it to work. The quality and consistency of his curveball has really come, and we liked him an awful lot coming out of high school.
"His average velocity is up 4-5 miles per hour from where it was when we scouted him in high school. He's a tremendous package."
• Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall went 2-for-4 with a double during his big league debut yesterday. He had gone 9-for-21 (.429) with two homers and a triple in his last five games for Triple-A Columbus. He missed a week and a half after suffering a concussion/whiplash on June 11.
• Braves third baseman Edward Salcedo collected a week's worth of production in one game yesterday for low Class A Rome. He went 5-for-5 with five runs scored, and among his 13 total bases were two solo homers (nine) and two doubles (15).
• Don't look now but righthander Chris Archer appears to have turned a corner with Double-A Montgomery. He delivered six, one-run innings yesterday, collecting six strikeouts and two walks. He's gone 2-0, 2.88 in his last four starts, with a 26-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 19 hits allowed over 25 innings. Archer's ERA after his first 11 starts this year registered at 5.98, and he had allowed 70 hits and 29 walks over 52 2/3 innings—good for a 1.88 WHIP.
• Triple-A Syracuse lefty Tom Milone turned in eight shutout innings yesterday against Rochester, holding the Red Wings to three hits. He struck out six and walked none. In fact, Milone has not given up more than one walk in any of his 14 starts, and he's turned in nine no-walk starts total. With a 95-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the season, Milone has wrested the International League strikeout title from Alex Torres (84) and Kyle Gibson (83). Naturally, his 0.5 walks per nine innings rate leads the IL, bettering Chiefs teammates Yunesky Maya (1.6, ranks second) and Craig Stammen (1.8, fifth). In total, four members of the Triple-A Nationals' rotation have an almost 1-to-1 start-to-walk ratio—Milone (14 starts, five walks), Stammen (12, 15), Maya (11, 13) and Brad Meyers (nine, five). Syracuse leads the IL with a 2.87 K-BB mark. And Milone does it all with a fastball that rarely reaches the 90 mph mark.
• In the world of Mariners prospects, Kyle Seager went 2-for-4 with a double in his fifth Triple-A game, his first at third base for Tacoma. At low Class A Clinton, righty Taijuan Walker turned in eight strikeouts over five innings—though they weren't exactly clean innings. He allowed nine baserunners (five walks, four hits) and five runs. Meanwhile, shortstop Nick Franklin has started hot with Double-A Jackson after a promotion, going 9-for-15 (.600) in four games, but he didn't play yesterday after begin struck by a bat during batting practice.
• The Reds' Yasmani Grandal batted .296/.410/.510 in 56 games with high Class A Bakersfield to earn a second-half bump to Double-A Carolina. After a 3-for-5 day yesterday (with two doubles) he's gone 6-for-17 (.353) with three doubles.
• Playing DH, Rookie-level Orem third baseman Kaleb Cowart continued his hot hitting by going 2-for-4 with the first triple of his young career. The 2010 Angels first-rounder has collected a hit in seven of his first eight Pioneer Leagues games, batting 16-for-30 (.533) overall.
• High Class A St. Lucie right fielder Cory Vaughn connected for his second home run in just his fourth Florida State League game. A Mets fourth-rounder last year, Vaughn has gone 6-for-14 (.545) since his promotion from low Class A Savannah, where he hit four homers in the course of 68 games.
• Low Class A Hickory shortstop Jurickson Profar went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and his seventh homer of the year. Not only is he hitting .269/.377/.498 through 59 games, but the Rangers phenom is showing advanced secondary skills for an 18-year-old middle infielder. He's rapped 31 extra-bats hits while compiling a 34-to-29 walk-to-strikeout ratio.
• Low Class A Fort Wayne right fielder Rymer Liriano has quietly swiped 37 bases in 49 attempts this season in the Midwest League. He went 2-for-3 yesterday, but what's remarkable about his performance is that he's made those 49 steal attempts while standing on first base an estimated 74 times via singles, walks and hit by pitches.
• Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia has seen his first action since an elbow injury that had sidelined him at low Class A Beloit since May 1. Arcia, the 2010 MVP of the Rookie-level Appalachian League, jumped to high Class A Fort Myers upon his activation from the disabled list and was off to a 1-for-8 start. Monday night, in his second game back, Arcia played right field after having been limited to DH duty for all but his first two games on a rehab stint in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
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