- Full name Kyle Trent Skipworth
- Born 03/01/1990 in Riverside, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 230 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Patriot
- Debut 04/10/2013
Drafted in the 1st round (6th overall) by the Miami Marlins in 2008 (signed for $2,300,000).
View Draft ReportA veteran of two USA Baseball teams (junior and youth national teams), Skipworth is the best high school catcher in the nation, and may be the best prep prospect at that position since Joe Mauer was the first pick in the 2001 draft. Skipworth established himself as a top prospect last summer by blasting a mammoth home run in the Aflac Classic in August. His hitting and power both grade out in the 65-70 range on the 20-80 scouting scale. He set a California state record by getting 18 consecutive hits in an April stretch, and at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, he has enough strength to hit well with wood. Blessed with quick reflexes and superior hand-eye coordination, Skipworth's bat speed enables him to drive the ball hard to all fields, and his both his stance and swing are ideal. After struggling defensively in the summer and fall, he has improved immensely, particularly on receiving. His blocking and shifting skills also have improved and he projects as a solid-average receiver. His only below-average tool is his speed. However, Skipworth moves well for a catcher and showed his athleticism with a 31-inch vertical leap at one showcase.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Skipworth's bat enticed the Marlins into drafting him sixth overall in 2008--one pick after the Giants grabbed Buster Posey--and paying him a $2.3 million bonus. But a player who set a California high school record with hits in 18 straight at-bats has struggled offensively as a pro. Though he established a new career best with 21 homers while repeating Double-A last year, the rest of his line was a carbon copy of 2011. Skipworth has legitimate power and can hit the ball as far as anyone in the Miami system. His problem is making contact, which is exacerbated by frequent experimentation with his approach and stance. While he still chases too many pitches, he's learning to work counts and has done a better job of keeping his front side quiet. Skipworth likely never will be better than a below-average hitter, however, and his career batting average (.219) and on-base percentage (.282) don't inspire conference that he'll be able to solve big league pitching. His struggles are even more pronounced versus lefties, against whom he guesses a lot and is susceptible to sweeping breaking balls. Skipworth's defense took a quantum step forward last year, when he finally shed his big-bodied awkwardness and gained some agility. He's now blocking balls that had shot through his legs or off his pads in the past. He has a solid arm and good accuracy on his throws, helping him boost his caught-stealing percentage from 23 in 2011 to 35 last year. A slow runner, he's no threat on the bases. Added to the Marlins' 40-man roster in November, Skipworth will head to Triple-A in 2013.
An offensive star in high school, Skipworth set a California prep record with hits in 18 straight at-bats before signing for $2.3 million as the sixth overall pick in 2008. His bat has never clicked in pro ball, though the Marlins were encouraged when he put up career-best numbers in 2010 and followed with a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League. That prompted the Marlins to jump him a level to Double-A last year, and the offensive gains he had made disappeared. Prone to expanding his strike zone both up and down, Skipworth seems to decide ahead of time that he's going to swing without analyzing the pitch. He has enticing lefthanded power but he doesn't keep his bat in the zone long enough to utilize it. Despite his struggles, he never has given in mentally and stayed focused last year on improving his defense. He has become more sophisticated at calling pitches and has learned to control the rhythm of the game. His receiving has gotten quieter and he blocks balls well. Though he threw out just 23 percent of basestealers in 2011, he has above-average arm strength and average feet. He's a below-average runner, typical of a catcher. Miami retains optimism that at 22 he still has time to put his offensive game together, but he has shown few signs of it. He'll repeat Double-A this season.
After setting a California high school record with hits in 18 consecutive at-bats, Skipworth landed a $2.3 million deal as the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft. That offensive prowess was missing until he reeled off a 15-game hitting streak last May while repeating low Class A. He capped a strong first half by homering in the South Atlantic League all-star game but tailed off afterward. The above-average power Skipworth had shown during batting practice finally surfaced during games in 2010, though he continued to strike out in a third of his at-bats. An all-or-nothing hitter, he's tempted too frequently by low breaking balls and high fastballs. His swing is mechanically sound and has good leverage, and he punishes pitches left over the plate. Skipworth has improved behind the dish and he was up to the challenge of handling a staff of high-velocity hurlers at Greensboro. After throwing out only 20 percent of basestealers in 2009, he caught 35 percent last year. His arm is plenty strong and his footwork has gotten better. He does a good job blocking pitches, though he has occasional lapses. He's a below-average runner but not terrible for a catcher. Lefthanded-hitting catchers with plus power are a rarity, so the Marlins will be patient with Skipworth. He'll open the year in high Class A.
Skipworth didn't become a full-time catcher until his junior season, but by the end of his prep career he was drawing comparisons to Joe Mauer, the only other prep catcher taken in the top 10 of the past 14 drafts. Skipworth set a California record with hits in 18 consecutive plate appearances, but has batted just .208/.263/.345 since signing for $2.3 million as the sixth overall pick. Despite his hitting woes, Skipworth has solid swing mechanics and the Marlins still believe in his offensive potential. He has been an advanced receiver from the moment he turned pro. He has outstanding hands and footwork, as well as toughness and intelligence. He has a strong, accurate arm, though he threw out just 20 percent of basestealers last season while playing through a hyperextension of his elbow. He earned points for his refusal to make excuses before getting shut down in early August. Skipworth has struggled with pitch recognition and will resort to guessing at times. Strikeouts have been a problem, and he needs to add strength. He hasn't shown power in games, though he has displayed loft power to his pull side in batting practice. Not since Charles Johnson in the mid-1990s have the Marlins had a catching prospect with such a high ceiling. Skipworth figures to repeat low Class A in hopes the Greensboro effect will get him going with the bat.
Skipworth didn't become a full-time catcher until he was a junior in high school, after the incumbent catcher (the head coach's brother) graduated. As a senior, he drew comparisons to Joe Mauer, the only other prep catcher taken in the top 10 picks in the past 13 drafts, and set a California state record with hits in 18 consecutive plate appearances. Drafted sixth overall, Skipworth signed quickly for $2.3 million. Though he struggled in his pro debut, the Mauer comparisons extend to his hitting. Skipworth has the bat speed and strength to hit for average and power as he matures. A first-rate receiver with excellent hands and footwork, he required little tweaking from roving catching instructor Tim Cossins. He quickly took on game-calling responsibilities and showed a knack for handling pitchers. He has a strong, accurate throwing arm and a quick release, which helped him lead the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League by nailing 36 percent of basestealers. Skipworth piled up too many strikeouts in the GCL, but he isn't the first high pick to struggle in his first pro summer. He needs to add strength and bulk to his lanky frame. His arm action can get long at times. He never had called pitches until he reached pro ball, so that has been an adjustment. The Marlins haven't had a catcher this promising since Charles Johnson in the early 1990s. Skipworth will start 2009 in low Class A, and his bat will dictate how fast he climbs.
Minor League Top Prospects
The top prep catching prospect in the 2008 draft, Skipworth went sixth overall and signed for $2.3 million. Though heralded for his offensive abilities, he struggled with the bat in his pro debut, starting off 0-for-12 and batting .208/.263/.340 overall. Despite his difficulties, Skipworth displayed the tools and ability of a top-level prospect. He has natural power, bat speed and a good approach at the plate. He led the Marlins with five homers and made midseason adjustments with his pitch selection and strike-zone discipline. "Skipworth may have been pressing early on in the season," Marlins farm director Brian Chattin said. "But he settled in and started waiting for his pitch, and we started noticing improvements through the summer." Defensively, Skipworth has the tools to stay behind the plate with a strong arm and durable frame. He has a tendency to get long with his arm stroke but is improving his footwork and transfer. He threw out 36 percent of basestealers to lead the GCL.