School: Texas Christian; Class: Junior
Position: C; B/T: L/R
Height: 5-11; Weight: 200
Previously Drafted: Washington Nationals, 34th round, 2014
Background: A mainstay in the middle of the Horned Frogs’ lineup throughout the duration of his career, Skoug, a 34th round pick by the Washington Nationals coming out of high school, is poised to be one of the first – if not the first – collegiate backstop taken in June. The lefty-swinging backstop made the transition to the collegiate level with relative ease: in 66 games as a true freshman, Skoug slugged .285/.365/.426 with 15 doubles and seven homeruns. He spent the summer playing for the Falmouth Commodores, hitting a respectable – especially for someone his age – .258/.301/.351 in 24 games.
Skoug had a massive breakout the following season, bashing and battering the opposition to the tune of .301/.390/.502 with a team-leading 21 doubles, one triple, and nine long balls. That production earned him on Team USA’s roster – where he batted .263/.364/.474 with a pair of doubles and two homeruns in 19 games.
This season, despite a slow start, Skoug’s production rebounded back closer to his career norms: he hit .278/.387/.547 with nine doubles and a team-leading 18 homeruns. For his career, Skoug’s sporting a solid .288/.380/.490 triple-slash line, with 45 doubles, one triple, and 34 homeruns in 865 total trips to the plate.
Projection: There is very, very little collegiate catching depth in this year’s draft class. So Skoug could hear his name called sooner than expected. He plays a premium position well enough with offensive promise, but he comes with a rather large red flag:
- Between 2011 and 2016, there are 90 instances in which a hitter bashed at least 18 homeruns in a season, at any collegiate level. Only four of those hitters – Chris Cowell, Paul Hoilman, Gary Russo, and Matthew Scruggs – posted a strikeout rate north of 27%. This season Skoug has punched out in nearly 30% of his plate appearances.
Skoug has always had some semi-questionable swing-and-miss tendencies, but this year’s explosion in his K-rate easily overshadows his developing power. It’s difficult to imagine a player who fans in 30% of his collegiate plate appearances won’t struggle with the same issue in the minor leagues.
With that being said, MLB is lacking some serious catching talent, especially in the power-hitting department. At worst, he’s a platoon guy with power and the ability to catch. At best, he’s a nice little mid-second round talent who develops into a league average starter.
Ceiling: 2.0-win player
Floor: 1.0-win player
Grade: Second/Third Round