TEMPE, Ariz. — It didn’t take long for Tyler Skaggs to win a championship.
The former Santa Monica High School star hurler — in his first year of professional baseball — helped the single-A Orem Owlz win the Pioneer league title last week giving the highly-touted prospect a bit of success early in his career.
“I feel really good,” Skaggs said of the accomplishment. “Everybody on the team is really cool even though I’m the youngest guy.”
The 18-year-old left hander has only been in the minors for the better part of two months after signing with the Los Angeles Angels, the team that selected him in the June Major League Baseball Draft. After picking Skaggs with the 40th pick, the Angels spent the next two months hammering out a contract that was finally inked in early August.
Immediately after signing, he was shipped off to rookie ball in Arizona. In three appearances — two starting and another in relief — Skaggs was not charged with a single run. He finished with a 0.00 ERA and struck out seven in six innings.
Once play wrapped up in late August, Skaggs was shipped to Orem where he helped the team to a title. Skaggs made two starts, tallying a 4.50 ERA. He also struck out six batters in four innings.
Skaggs is back in Tempe where he will play for the next month. Even with his early success, Skaggs is aware that he has to continue the strong showing if the Angels are to continue to move him up through the minor leagues.
While the work has been hard, Skaggs said that it is the “easiest job in the world.”
“(Baseball) is a job now,” he said, “but I just do what I love.”
Although playing pro ball is a far cry from high school, Skaggs said that his approach to the game is unchanged. Known as a consummate worker during his time at Samohi, Skaggs said that the most important thing for him to do is “throw strikes” and the rest will work out from there.
Once his first season wraps sometime next month, the Los Angeles-native said he plans to come home to the Westside and spend time with his family and friends.
He said that being away from them has been hard, but he’s been able to cope thanks to his teammates.
“You find new friends out here,” Skaggs said. “It’s a family of baseball.”