Photo by Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
The 2011 XM All-Star Futures game at Chase Field will feature a pair of D-backs top prospects. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and pitcher Tyler Skaggs have been selected to participate in this year’s event.
The 13th annual Futures Game will take place on July 10 and showcases many of baseball’s elite prospects on two teams: U.S. and World. In this year’s contest, Goldschmidt and Skaggs will be teammates on the U.S squad.
After being drafted by the D-backs in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB Amateur draft, Goldschmidt has torn through Minor League pitching. In nearly three seasons, the hard-hitting first baseman has crushed 75 home runs, 83 doubles, and 231 RBI.
He batted .334 and .314 in his first two seasons, respectively. In 2011, Goldschmidt keeps on hitting and is enjoying a standout season at Double-A Mobile. Through 70 games, he is hitting .328 with 22 homers and 61 RBI.
Despite his recent success, Goldschmidt only wants to get better as his season continues.
“I just try to do my best every day and keep improving,” Goldschmidt said in Spring Training. “Listen to what the coaches are saying and the other guys on the team. Your teammates can help you out so much.”
Goldschmidt recently participated in the Southern League All-Star Game, where he launched a two-run homer in the first inning.
“All you’ve got to do is look at his numbers and wow,” D-backs Director of Player Development Mike Bell said in Spring Training. “I think the way he does it makes it really impressive, too. He’s got a lot of power to right field and right centerfield. The majority of his home runs come that way, which is the sign of a guy that knows how to hit.”
Then there’s Skaggs, who was acquired last summer in the Dan Haren trade with the Angels. Skaggs was a first-round draft pick by Los Angeles in the 2009 draft. With an electric arsenal of pitches and smooth mechanics, the southpaw has immediately become one of Arizona’s top pitching prospects.
As a member of Single-A Visalia’s starting rotation, Skaggs has a 3.36 ERA and 4-5 record in 14 starts this season. Following last year’s trade, he made four starts for South Bend, where he went 1-1 with a sharp 1.69 ERA. In Skaggs’ 83 innings of work, he has tallied 102 strikeouts, which leads the entire California League.
After a slow start to the season, Skaggs has found his groove in recent weeks.
“I’m just attacking hitters,” Skaggs said, “using my fastball inside outside, my curveball, and then I really worked on my changeup. (It’s) just going out there thinking the best, and you can’t be hit. You’ve just got to go out there and go pitch by pitch.”
Skaggs was also a recent Minor League All-Star when he started for the California League in the Single-A All-Star game against the Carolina League on June 21.
Goldschmidt and Skaggs are the latest D-backs to suit up for the Futures Game. Shortstop Stephen Drew, pitcher Daniel Hudson, and outfielders Justin Upton and Chris Young were all participants in past Futures Games.