2011 MiLB Farm Report, Week 21: Young Guns Tyler Skaggs & Nick Barnese Ready In 2012?
At the ripe old age of 20, Skaggs has rapidly emerged as the prize possession of Arizona's farm system. Acquired as the centerpiece prospect in the Dan Haren trade, the lanky 6'4 southpaw has made waves at multiple levels this season.
He began the campaign in the Advanced A CAL where he struck out 125 batters (11.2 per nine innings) against 34 walks in 100 2/3 innings. In eight starts since being promoted to the AA Southern League he's pitched to a 2.51 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and whiffed 54 (10.4 per nine) in 46 2/3 innings of work.
Two of his last three pitching lines have been legit "lights out": August 12th- seven IP, two hits, one run, zero BB and 7 K, while retiring 19 straight along the way. August 23rd- complete game, two hits, one run, two BB, seven K. Not too shabby.
Skaggs wasn't projected as a true power arm, but he's missing bats with overwhelming abundance. He continues to grow into his frame and his velocity has escalated up to 93. His prime offering is a 12-7 curve that has been termed Zito-esque, and he's rapidly growing in confidence with the essential third pitch, his change.
Skaggs possesses mental maturity and mound presence beyond his years, however, the physical still needs to catch up. Can he make an appearance in 2012 before he hits 21? It’s looking more and more realistic with each dominant outing.
Nick Barnese, RH SP Tampa Bay
What do we have here? Indeed, another Rays arm capable of major league contributions in the not too distant future.
Barnese has battled the traditional ups and downs in his first season above A ball, but there's no questioning his ground ball inducing tendencies. The sinker baller is sporting a 1.26 GO/AO ratio on the season, 2.16 in the second half and 2.50 in August. He allowed eight HR in nearly 200 innings of work between the SAL and FSL in 2009/2010, and has surrendered eight in 115+ frames in the Southern League.
Unfortunately, 2011 has also seen a disconcerting regression in command. After issuing an exceptional 26 walks in 122 1/3 innings in 2010, he's more than doubled that total to 54 despite fewer accumulated innings. With the absence of swing and miss stuff, he needs to limit cheap base runners.
He's a contact pitcher, and ground balls will find holes. Barnese was rated the number 12 prospect in Tampa's system following 2010, and if he gets back to throwing strikes there's no reason he can't blossom into a middle of the rotation type.
He could be an emergency option in the Alex Cobb mold as soon as next season. Emergency being the key word, as the Rays are absolutely saturated with arms throughout the organization. Keep a watchful eye during the spring.
Written by Adam Ganeles exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com
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(July 9, 2011 – Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)