Scouting Yankee Prospect #36: Jon Skaggs
Jon Skaggs Graphic

Posted Dec 5, 2004


The Yankees selected Jon Skaggs in the 1st round of the 2001 Draft. Immediately, the Rice graduate was highly touted as a big framed, power pitcher in the organization. Despite his arm trouble in the last couple seasons, Skaggs came back strong in 2004. It's these reasons that he's our #36 Yankee's prospect.

Vital Statistics
Name: Jon Skaggs
Position: Pitcher
DOB: March 27, 1978
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 225
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Place of Residence: Houston, Texas

The Yankees' 1st round draft pick in the 2001 draft out of Rice University, Skaggs missed the better part of two seasons following elbow surgery, after blowing out his elbow in his first professional start 2 years earlier. As a result, this caused him not to play his real, first full season until 2003 when he played for the Battle Creek Yankees in low A ball. However, 2003 can also not be used as much of a gage on Skaggs either. His 2003 season was a wash as the big righthander was just getting accustomed to pitching in live games again. This past season, 2004, Skaggs showed some of the promise that made him a first round selection, holding opposing Florida State League batters to a .235 average. But, what was more impressive was the fact that it appears his elbow is holding up just fine as he led the Tampa staff in innings pitched with over 162 innings. Still, Skaggs will be 27 years old come next season and time is running out for him to salvage what looked like a promising career. Expect Skaggs to be challenged in AA Trenton next season with a possible quick call-up to AAA Columbus if he shows some success.

Jon Skaggs' manager in Tampa this season, Bill Masse had some words about his workhorse in an interview with PinstripesPlus.com. "Skaggs was one of our main guys all year this season. He definitely was a big part of our staff, that's for sure. I think he is back at full strength now after he had his Tommy John Surgery. He is back throwing over 90 MPH and not to mention he has 4 good pitches. He has a very good curveball but his control is still not where it should be. Because of all his walks, he would get often get stuck with a very average outing when he could have been much better. If he could improve his control, it would make all the difference in the world in his pitching. Another thing is that he needs to cleanup his delivery. His motion is very violent and he is going to need to fix that up. Essentially, it was really only his second year of pro ball despite his age. So, we'll have to wait and see with Skaggs."

At this point, you could call Skaggs an organizational favorite, for sure. This is for good reason of course, considering his college resume and simply the fact that he was a 1st round draft pick. He has bounced back well from severe injury trouble and still has the physical ability to be successful. For now, it is hard to look at his age and get excited about him but considering his enormous setback, there is nothing much to do except let him work out his flaws and see if what was drafted in 2001 can finally materialize.

Year

Team

W-L

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2004

Tampa

13-9

162.2

141

70

116

3.87

2003

Battle Creek

4-3

72.0

65

40

55

5.25



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup

Fastball. Well, the bottom line is that Skaggs has always had a good fastball. Since his senior year at Rice University, he has had a fastball that ranged anywhere from 91-95 MPH. However, there was much concern that after all his elbow troubles, his fastball would not return to full strength. But, to the pleasure of the organization, his fastball did return to full strength. Skaggs pitches around 92 MPH. The only frustrating thing about the righty's fastball is that he does not utilize his large body. He uses mostly arm when he pitches, which besides the injury concerns, does not allow him to use his huge frame. If he were to ever discover the benefits of becoming more of a legs pitcher, he would be able to easily add at least 3 MPH to his heater. It just goes to show how much potential he has left untapped on an already strong fastball.

Other Pitches. No one could ever accuse Jon Skaggs of having a shallow repertoire, that's for sure. Skaggs possesses a deep repertoire of secondary pitches including a curveball, a slider and a changeup. Each of these pitches is at least serviceable. His slider would fall under that category of serviceable. It is not a dominating pitch but a solid pitch nonetheless. It usually has a velocity in the low 80's. The better of his pitches are his curveball and changeup. The tall righty has a good changeup that he has improved his command on over the past 2004 season. However, like his curveball, there is work to be done. But, with off speed stuff, that violent motion of his, is hard to duplicate. Not to get the wrong idea though, Jon Skaggs has an outstanding curveball. That has been his best pitch since his days at Rice and it remains today. Skaggs throws a 12-6 hook that is tossed up there in the high 70's.

Pitching. Skaggs is certainly a power pitcher but could be a far better one if he were to use his large frame to its fullest potential. However, disregarding this for a moment, the righthander has a deep repertoire, that alone can help him get along with sometimes sub par command. But, at times, his lack of control and command is too much to overcome. With his violent and unrefined motion, he gets very out of sync at times. That is where he usually runs into most of his trouble. In general, if his command is good, Skaggs is incredibly hard to hit because of his deep repertoire. So, with a cleanup up his delivery, he will not only better his control but decrease his risk of injury as well.

Projection. He has been a starter throughout his entire career, including his days at Rice University. With his deep repertoire and good secondary pitches, Skaggs is going to sink or float in the starting rotation.

ETA. Late 2006. Considering his age, it is becoming more and more obvious that Jon Skaggs is going to have to get on the move up the organizational ladder. Next season, he is basically a lock to be part of the 2005 Trenton Thunder starting rotation. But, it is a also almost a lock that if the AAA Columbus pitching staff is in need of a starter, the then 27 year old Skaggs will be the first called into action. Then, he could be ready for the Bronx in late 2006 because it doesn't seem that the Yankees have any plans of giving up on their former 1st round draft pick anytime soon.


Related Stories
Q&A with Yankees' Prospect Steven White
 -by PinstripesPlus.com  Dec 6, 2004
Top 50 Yankees Prospects
 -by PinstripesPlus.com  Nov 14, 2004
Q&A with Tampa Yankees Manager, Bill Masse
 -by PinstripesPlus.com  Oct 28, 2004

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