Double-A Mobile's rotation is as talented as any you'll find in the minors. Tyler Skaggs joined the BayBears in July and Trevor Bauer followed suit in August, joining Jarrod Parker and Pat Corbin among the Diamondbacks' stable of pitching prospects. On Tuesday, it was the lefthanded Skaggs' turn to shine as he turned in a dominant outing against Jackson.
The 20-year-old Skaggs was hit hard in his Double-A debut on July 15, giving up eight hits and five runs (four earned) in four innings of work, but he's caught on to the Southern League quickly in subsequent starts. Coming into last night, Skaggs hadn't allowed more than two runs in five straight starts, and he extended that streak to six by limiting Jackson to one run on two hits over nine innings. He struck out seven and walked two.
The nine-inning outing was the longest of Skaggs' career, though he didn't get credit for what would have been his first career complete game since the contest went to extra innings tied 1-1 before his Mobile squad won in the 10th. Skaggs probably could have gone even deeper if the team had desired, as he finished his nine innings on just 86 pitches. Skaggs gave up his only run of the night on a solo home run by Nick Franklin in the fourth inning, after which he allowed only one more baserunner (the only other hit he allowed was an infield single in the second) and ended his night retiring the last 10 hitters he faced.
Skaggs lowered his Double-A ERA to 2.51 in eight starts after he'd gone 5-5, 3.22 in 17 starts for high Class A Visalia. His groundout ratio has fallen precipitously since he moved up (from 1.47 in Visalia to 0.80 in Mobile), but he's maintained his other impressive rate stats. He has struck out 10.41 per nine innings in Double-A (only slightly down from his 11.26 rate in Visalia) while lowering his walk rate to 2.31 per nine in Double-A from 3.04 in high Class A.
AROUND THE MINORS
• South Atlantic League managers have told us Jameson Taillon's stuff was still impressive, even if the results hadn't been. Well, the results might be starting to catch up. Taillon had perhaps his best outing of the season last night for low Class A West Virginia, allowing only one run on one hit in five innings of work against Greensboro. He struck out five and walked three. His season record is still a fairly pedestrian 2-3, 4.36 in 85 innings, but in his last two starts, Taillon has limited opponents to two runs on four hits in nine innings with eight strikeouts.
• In that same game, Greensboro catcher J.T. Realmuto belted two home runs against West Virginia's bullpen, helping the Grasshoppers erase a 7-1 deficit before losing 10-9. He also had Greensboro's only hit off Taillon and finished the evening 4-for-5 with six RBIs. Realmuto is perhaps most notable for homering off a rehabbing Stephen Strasburg on Aug. 7, but the 20-year-old catcher, Florida's third-round pick last year, has had a solid season in his own right. After hitting .269/.342/.351 with no homers through the first half, Realmuto has hit 10 homers in the second half while batting .300/.353/.524. He's up to .286/.348/.447 in 304 at-bats for the year.
• Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco has tailed off a bit in the second half with Triple-A Louisville, but he had himself a night on Tuesday. The 23-year-old backstop hit two homers and went 4-for-4 against Toledo. Mesoraco's hitting just .270 since the all-star break, but he's still been showing a good eye at the plate—.366 on-base—and he now owns five homers in August, the most he's hit in any month this year, bringing his season total to 15.
• Cardinals 2010 first-round pick Zack Cox had hit just five home runs in his first 77 games with Double-A Springfield. He's since gone out and hit four in the last three days, including two last night off Royals prospect Jake Odorizzi. Cox went 2-for-3 and also drew a walk on the night, improving to .316/.382/.461 in 304 at-bats since joining Springfield in late May.
In other news from that game, Cardinals top prospect Shelby Miller returned to Springfield's rotation following his suspension. The 20-year-old righthander worked four innings and gave up two runs on two hits, with three strikeouts and three walks, in his first start since August 10.