Whenever one of the many phenoms the Arizona Diamondbacks have in their farm system gets called up, people are always expecting big things. That didn't change when it was announced on Tuesday that Tyler Skaggs, one of the team's best pitching prospects, was going to pitch the first game of the D-backs' doubleheader against the Marlins on Wednesday.
Skaggs was phenomenal in his debut, pitching 6.2 innings and giving up just two earned runs. The only thing you could possibly critique is the fact that he walked five batters, but his manager, Kirk Gibson doesn't seem too concerned.
"I don't even critique that," Gibson said of Skaggs' walk rate. "It was his first major league start... I wasn't going to let him get the loss. He had done his job and 7-8-9 (pitchers in their respective innings) has been good so I decided to go that way. It was a great, great win. 6 2/3 [innings] it was great." He went on to call Skaggs' performance "mature" and "composed".
When asked to critique himself, Skaggs sang a slightly different tune, but overall, he seemed content with his performance. "It was pretty nerve wracking, but I felt like I did a good job. Trust me, everyone is going to have nerves. People say they don't, but once you get that first pitch out of the way, you feel a lot better," he said.
Still, he wasn't completely dismissive of the fact that he has improvements to make if he wants to stay in the big leagues. "I've got to cut the walks down, that was way too many," Skaggs said about throwing five walks in his debut. He also criticized the two run homer he gave up to Justin Ruggiano in the second inning, but acknowledged that it wasn't a bad pitch that he threw. "I thought it was a decent pitch."
His catcher, Miguel Montero thought the young pitcher was exceptional in his first start as well. "He made good quality pitches, (but) he just gave up that long run... Other than that, I thought he dominated pretty much. I didn't see any comfortable swings (from the Marlins) except (for) the homer," Miggy said. "Even in spring training I was impressed with him. He's got a good presence on the mound and today he showed it. I think he's a really good pitcher and I see a bright future right now."
Despite the little mistakes that Skaggs made, he realizes that it was just his first game in the majors and he believes that he can pitch with the best of hitters. In all, it was a dream come true for him to be in this situation.
"I don't think it could have went any better," Skaggs said of his debut. "It's just been a great day so far. It went a little better in my dream without the walks, but it still went good though."
If today was any indication of what Skaggs will look like for the next decade, Diamondbacks fans have quite a bit to be excited about.