July 31st, 2014: That was the last time we saw Tyler Skaggs pitching for the Angels. It was his first year pitching for the Halos, and prior to that, he had just a few stints in the bigs with Arizona. 2014 was set to be the year we learned about the talent Skaggs possessed. But just as we were beginning to see what he was capable of, he was gone.
Skaggs had been on the DL since that fateful start, and a couple weeks later, we learned that what was thought of as a “flexor strain” would end up being a UCL that needed repair via Tommy John surgery. Turk’s Teeth lamented what the team was losing:
Over his past two starts, he held the formidable Baltimore and Detroit offenses to 5 hits and 1 earned run collectively over 10.1 IP. For the 2014 season, he made 18 starts and threw 113 innings, pitching to a 4.30 ERA. "True talent" metrics liked him even better, due to his low walk rate and ability to keep the ball in the park. With a 50.1% groundball rate, he penciled out to a 3.55 FIP and 1.6 fWAR on the season.
That was nearly two years ago. So much has happened in that time.
When Tyler Skaggs was last on the mound for the Angels, they were on their way to winning 98 games and an AL West division title.
When Skaggs was last seen pitching for the Halos, Josh Hamilton was batting cleanup.
Jerry Dipoto was the general manager of the Angels.
Mike Butcher was still giving slider orders aplenty.
Two years away from the big show, and now Skaggs is back with a vengeance. He was set to be an important part of a burgeoning, young rotation, but while his hype train was derailed, it’s about to get chugging along once again. Time to get on board, if his 12 2/3 scoreless innings in AAA are to believed, including one game where he struck out 14 batters.
When talking to OC Register’s Jeff Fletcher, you can sense that he certainly feels the importance and the weight of the occasion:
“I’m going to take it like a normal game,” Skaggs said. “It’s not my debut. I’ve been here before. I know I’m going to be nervous, very nervous, but at the same time, I’ll tell myself I’ve been here before. ... It’s a big game for me. I put a lot of work into getting here. The work isn’t done. I don’t want to just get here. I want to stay here.”
It’s been nearly two years since Tyler Skaggs was on the mound for the Angels, and his return could be one of the few highlights this sad season still has in store for us.
He’s back, y’all.
Kansas City tonight lets get it!— Tyler Skaggs (@TylerSkaggs37) July 26, 2016