Reid Scoggins took himself and his triple digit fastball to the rotation this year. Did the gamble pay off?
Position: RHP Highest Level: Low-A
Bats: R Throws: R Height: 6'3" Weight: 210
Age: 23 Born: 7/18/90
2013 Rank: #29
2013 Season Stats
Low-A: 65.0 IP, 1-4, 3.46 ERA, 53 H, 35 BB, 1 HR, 76 SO, 2.82 FIP, .317 BABIP, 52.1 GB%
Fastball = A
Scoggins was dialing it up to and over 100 mph last season…..as a starter! Granted, most of the time he sat 96-98, but holy cow! Much like the aforementioned Austin Wood, Scoggins' fastball will play in either a starting or relief role.
Offspeed Pitches = C
Scoggins showed great development last season. In Rookie Ball, his slider was more of a "get me over" type of pitch just to show hitters something different. In A Ball, it turned into a legitimate weapon as he tightened the spin on the pitch. I wouldn't grade it out as "plus" just yet but it's certainly good to have in his arsenal. Scoggins also showed a changeup/hard sinker/cutter last year. I honestly couldn't tell what it was, but what I could tell is that he wasn't completely lost throwing the pitch, which bodes well for his future as a starter.
Control = D+
Scoggins managed to cut his BB/9 almost in half last season as a starter. Granted it was at an unsustainably high 8.0 in Rookie Ball and now is simply an unsightly 4.8, but the thing to take away from all of this is that he's learning.
Command = C
Scoggins again showed moderate improvement in this area. When he was able to get the ball over the plate, he seemed to avoid putting the ball right down broadway and instead sat on the corners and kept the ball low as often as he could. Could you imagine that? 100 mph fastball at the knees painted on the corner.
Mechanics = B
An important thing to consider is that this was Scoggins' first year as a starting pitcher. Even in junior college, he was a reliever, and as I've come to understand his mechanics needed a lot of help back then. He's come a long way. In fact, had I not known he was transitioning to starter, I never would have guessed it was his first year.
Performance = B+
As a reliever in Rookie Ball, I felt Scoggins K/9 was simply a silly result of small sample sizes, low competition and a huge fastball. There wasn't any way it could actually remain high. And I was right, his K/9 dropped from 18.9 down all the way to an amazing 10.5. More importantly, his offspeed pitches developed, he learned to throw more strikes, transitioned into a starter and posted a 3.46 ERA in A Ball. Outside of earning a promotion and landing in the Top 100, there wasn't much more you could've expected from Scoggins, he had a great year.
Projection = B
Most scouts still envision Scoggins becoming a reliever and it's hard to disagree with them. His walks would become a more than acceptable byproduct of his triple digit fastball and he'd be able to climb the system quickly. However, I'm not sure there's any prospect in the system that has made the strides Scoggins has made. Every challenge the Angels have thrown in front of him, he's conquered. It wouldn't be out of this world to think that he'll start throwing even more strikes, improve his command even more and develop his second and third pitches to the point where they are considered "plus". If he were to do this, he's be a front of the rotation starter. If he only cut down the walks, but wasn't able to further develop his off-speed pitches you'd likely have a dynamic back-end starter. Scoggins could truly go any direction from here.
Grade as a Prospect = C+/B-
Scoggins performance and upside necessitate consideration for a higher grade as a prospect. However, the fact that most scouts see him as a reliever and that he'll be 23 years old in the Cal League knock this grade back down to Earth. It's hard not to be excited about him though. If he stays healthy, Scoggins is either a dynamic starter or dynamic late inning reliever. Perhaps what has me most impressed with him are the reports I've received about how quickly he picks up new concepts and his willingness to learn and implement new things into his game plan. He seems aware that a 100 mph fastball doesn't guarantee a spot in the majors (though it doesn't hurt) and wants to put in the work and earn his way up. It's difficult to learn this mature approach for many, but he seems to have it.
Estimated MLB Arrival Date = 2015-2017
I took a page straight out of Austin Wood's scouting profile for Reid Scoggins since they are so similar. In fact, can you imagine Inland Empire's rotation next year having both Wood and Scoggins in it? Filthy. Anyway, if Scoggins remains a starter, it will likely be another three years before he's knocking on the door. If the Angels make him into a reliever, he'll likely shoot up the ladder.
2013 in Review*
After a 2012 season in which he basically struck out or walked everyone he faced, the bold decision was made to move Reid Scoggins into the rotation. The results were surprisingly good. Scoggins saw his K/9 rate dropfrom 18.15 to 10.52 in 2013. That's a big drop, but an 18+ K/9 is pretty absurd, so he was bound to see that number decrease. Considering that Scoggins still maintained a double-digit K/9 while switching from relief to starting, we should still be impressed with his ability miss bats. Even more impressive though is that he started to find the strike zone. Scoggins trimmed his BB/9 down over over three, posting a 4.85 mark in 2013. That is still too high, but it represents marked improvement from where he was.
Scoggins made progress by cleaning up his mechanics some and introducing a usable changeup to his arsenal. His bread and butter is always going to be his big fastball, but the changeup makes him a real possibility to stick in the rotation. Just looking at his splits, it is readily apparent that he is just as good against lefties as he is righties.
Scoggins did deal with some injury issues last year, so there is something of a health concern going forward. I don't know the nature of his injuries this year, but he did have Tommy John surgery in 2011, so Scoggins already had an injury red flag.
Thus far Scoggins has feasted on hitters in the low minors, but he will get bumped up to the Inland Empire next year. That is a much more hitter-friendly environment than he has played in previously, so his ability to dominate will be put to the test. One stat I am particularly keen to monitor is how many homers he will allow. Thanks to his heavy fastball, Scoggins generates a lot of grounders. That led to him allowing a single solitary homer in all of 2013. That will be hard to replicate in the California League, but if he can continue to avoid contact and suppress homers on the contact he does allow, it should raise Scoggins' stock significantly.
2013 was already something of a breakout for Scoggins, but if he takes the same kind of big step forward again next year, he is going to be on everyone's radar, and not just because he can hit triple digits on the radar gun.
*As we do every year, the scouting reports and grades are provided by Scotty Allen while Garrett Wilson provides the 2013 in Review and Looking Ahead sections.