Detroit Tigers: Top 20 prospects going into the 2020 season

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Detroit Tigers
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Tarik Skubal, LHP, Double-A in 2019

A dark horse prospect in the Detroit Tigers system is Tarik Skubal, who is not one of the “coveted” first-round draft picks like others on this list. Skubal was selected in the ninth round of the 2018 draft by the Tigers out of Seattle University. Just a year prior, the Arizona Diamondbacks had taken a flyer on Skubal, selecting him in the twenty-ninth round of the 2017 draft. Still, he opted not to sign and return to Seattle University.

The six-foot-three, 215-pound southpaw has battled some adversity in his road to being drafted to an MLB organization. While at Seattle University, Skubal had to undergo Tommy John Surgery, which would eat up his 2016 season and all of the 2017 season.

Since then, he has not had any significant injuries and has worked through the Tigers minor league system pretty efficiently, heading into his third season. In 2019, Skubal spent time with the Single-A Lakeland team, where he made five starts, tallying a 4-5 record, a 2.58 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, over 80.1 innings pitched.

He was promoted to Double-A Erie, where he made nine starts, pitching to a 2-3 record with a 2.13 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP, and eighty-two punchouts, over 42.1 innings pitched for the Seawolves. In total, over the course of 2019, Skubal made twenty-four starts with a 6-8 record, a 2.42 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, issuing thirty-seven walks, and striking out 179 over 122.1 innings pitched.

Skubal is a left-hander who delivers the ball from a high three-quarters arm slot with a high leg kick on his windup. He features a low-to-mid 90s fastball that can be run up to mid-to-high 90s that is accompanied by a three-pitch offspeed arsenal.

Skubal’s slider is a newly developed addition that has a tight and late break to it, it pairs with his curveball, which is more of a 12-6 or 11-5 style movement, and he also throws a changeup with beautiful arm-side sink.

MLB Expectation: Skubal has risen through the prospect rankings for the Detroit Tigers, and Skubal has all the makings of a top-two pitcher in the Detroit Tigers rotation if he continues to develop the way he has been. He may end up in a two or three spot with the Detroit Tigers plethora of young pitchers, but his incredible development should land him at the front of the future Detroit Tigers rotation.