DETROIT – Tarik Skubal, the Detroit Tigers’ ninth-round pick two years ago, has continued his meteoric rise through the prospect rankings, landing as the No. 4 left-handed pitching prospect in the league, according to MLB Pipeline.
Skubal was the team’s selection in the ninth round of the 2018 MLB draft. Since joining the minors, Skubal has done nothing but miss bats at an elite level. For his career, he owns a 2.79 ERA, a 0.986 WHIP and a 13.2 K/9.
Last season, his first full year of professional ball, Skubal tore through Single-A lineupes to the tune of a 2.58 ERA, a 1.008 WHIP and 97 strikeouts in 80.1 innings.
He was even more dominant after being promoted to Double-A. Skubal struck out 82 of the 170 batters he faced (48%) while allowing just 25 hits in 42.1 innings. Walks were a bit of an issue, but his elite strikeout and home run rates more than made up for the increase in free passes.
Batters swung and missed at 22% of Skubal’s pitches after his promotion to Double-A -- just an absurd swinging strike rate. He gave up just two home runs and nine extra-base hits.
Despite the high walk rate, Skubal still threw 65% of his pitches for strikes, which eases some of the concerns associated with walking 3.8 batters per nine innings.
Skubal rose into the team’s top five prospects for the first time last season, and finished the year as the No. 74 prospect in the game. He’s likely to be ranked even higher when the full 2020 rankings come out, judging by his placement on the left-handed pitchers list.
Skubal is ranked fourth behind four players who finished 2019 in the top 18 of the overall prospect rankings. He’s ranked ahead of two players who were No. 41 and No. 42 in the final 2019 rankings. That suggests he could begin 2020 somewhere in the range of 20-40 in the league’s overall rankings.
Skubal is the third pitcher to appear on a top 10 position list for the Tigers this off-season. Casey Mize and Matt Manning are ranked No. 1 and No. 7, respectively, in the top 10 right-handed pitching rankings.
Here are the top 10 left-handed pitching prospects:
- MacKenzie Gore, Padres
- Jesus Luzardo, A’s
- Brendan McKay, Rays
- Tarik Skubal, Tigers
- Nick Lodolo, Reds
- Matthew Liberatore, Cardinals
- A.J. Puk, A’s
- Daniel Lynch, Royals
- Brailyn Marquez, Cubs
- DL Hall, Orioles
Outfielder Riley Greene and infielder Isaac Paredes could also appear on the top 100 prospects list heading into 2020.