Troy Scribner is all about command, and command is all about him. If he were a Janet Jackson song, he wouldn’t be “Nasty”, because he doesn’t really have nasty stuff...he’d be “Control”. If Troy Scribner were a living real estate cliche, he’d be “Location, location, location”. Are you beginning to understand what Scribner’s #1 asset is on the mound? Yep. It’s his command and control.
Scribner, who was picked up from the Astros last March by Billy Eppler, in exchange for some cold, hard cash, was undrafted in 2013 (coming out of Sacred Heart University), and that created quite the large chip on his shoulder. In his case, though, that may have been for the best, because it lit a competitive fire under him that’s kept him afloat amongst the stiffest of competition, leading him to defy all of those scouts that had told him he didn’t have MLB stuff.
If there was ever a knock on him from said scouts, it was his lack of a powerful and/or elusive pitching arsenal, but what he lacks in make-batters-look-silly ability, he makes up for in...you guessed it...command. Scribner is extremely consistent in his pitching attack, and can put pitches exactly where he wants them, over and over again. He’s got four pitches in his quiver, including a fastball that, on a good day, will barely top out in the low 90s, but he’s got confidence and enough control over those pitches that he can get guys out before they realized what happened.
His minor league career has still had it’s fair share of ups and downs, and while he’s a fine example of getting the job done with a completely basic approach, there is still plenty to be desired from him on the mound. The Astros LOVED him at first, as he dominated their minor league system in 2014, ultimately getting promoted from low-A up to AA all in the span of one season. Troy Scribner was going places. Then, 2015 happened, and the mouth-watering 2.09 ERA in ‘14 turned into an atrocious 5.49.
That entire ‘15 season made the Astros fall out of love with him, and that’s when Billy Eppler scooped him up. Perhaps it was the shunning from Houston that kicked that axe-to-grind attitude back into gear, because Scribner took his opportunity with the Angels and ran with it in 2016. He pitched to a 3.47 ERA and 8-3 record in 16 starts at AA Arkansas, and then a nice 3.30 ERA at AAA Salt Lake (which also included his first professional complete game shutout).
Scribner has gone back and forth between starter and reliever roles, and I suppose both remain an option with the Halos. That said, it’s obvious that right now, they like him as a AAA depth piece. If he can continue to outsmart batters by changing speeds and consistently locating his pitches, then he should continue to have success.
Whether or not that will translate to MLB success remains to be seen. But considering the injury woes of the Angels’ starting rotation last year, he may get his shot one of these days, and who knows? He could do at that level what he’s done at every other level in his pro career thus far, and that’s defy expectations.