Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell and we can only hope the friends and family of Tyler Skaggs can find peace in the upcoming days.
Tyler Skaggs (1991-2019)
Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs died on Monday in Texas, where his team was preparing to face the Texas Rangers.
The Southlake, Texas, police department released the following statement: “[Monday] at 2:18 p.m. CDT the Southlake Police Department responded to a call of an unconscious male in a room in the Hilton hotel at 1400 Plaza Place. Officers arrived and found the male unresponsive, and he was pronounced deceased at the scene.”
Neither foul play nor suicide is suspected as the cause of death.
“It is with great sorrow that we report Tyler Skaggs passed away earlier today in Texas,” the Angels said in a statement. “Tyler has, and always will be, an important part of the Angels Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Carli, and his entire family during this devastating time. There are no other details at this time, please keep Tyler’s family in your thoughts and prayers.”
The game between the Angels and Rangers was canceled on Monday. Some reaction to the tragic news:
Angels outfielder Mike Trout, via Twitter: “Words cannot express the deep sadness we feel right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with Carli and their families. Remembering (Tyler) as a great teammate, friend, and person who will forever remain in our hearts. . . . we love you, (number) 45.”
Angels GM Billy Eppler: “He had a long life ahead of him, and now that’s gone. Everybody grieves in their own way, and everybody has to find peace through this eventually, but it’s just a tragic day for everybody, especially his family.”
Rangers manager Chris Woodward: “There were a lot of pretty emotional guys in our clubhouse. Some guys knew him. Guys were physically shaken. This isn’t something we deal with on a daily basis. It’s heartbreaking. You can tell our guys were pretty upset. It’s one of those moments where you’re just kind of numb to life. I personally heard tremendous things about him, and everybody spoke very highly of him. It’s just a sad situation. Our hearts go out to him. We’re thinking about his family, his wife, everybody who knew him. It gives you perspective of how fragile life is. He was an intriguing guy. Really good stuff. And everyone spoke very highly of him from a character standpoint. He was a guy who was tough to root against. Hard to be mad at a guy knowing he was so well liked among his coaches and players. It’s awful to think he’s not going to be around anymore.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred: “I am deeply saddened by today’s tragedy in Texas. All of us at Major League Baseball extend our deepest condolences to Tyler’s wife, Carli, their family, their friends and all of his Angels’ teammates and colleagues. We will support the Angels’ organization through this most difficult period, and we will make a variety of resources available to Tyler’s teammates and other members of the baseball family.”
Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer: “We came up together. We won together. We laughed and celebrated together. Today, we all lose and mourn together. Your memory, your love for life, everything that made you, you, will live forever in the hearts and minds of those who knew you. Rest In Peace brother. We love you.”
Former Angels pitcher Jered Weaver: “I am devastated about the passing of my close friend Tyler Skaggs.... what a great kid and ultimate competitor. He always wanted to get better and it was awesome being apart of his development! My heart is w his wife Carli and his mom Debbie.
Skaggs was drafted out of Santa Monica High by the Angels in the first round of the 2009 draft. They traded him, along with Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez and Joe Saunders, to Arizona for pitcher Dan Haren on July 25, 2010. He thrived in Arizona’s minors, playing in two consecutive MLB All-Star Futures games and was named the team’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2011, when he went 9-6 with a 2.96 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 27 combined starts with Class A Visalia and double A Mobile.
On Dec. 10, 2013, he was traded back to the Angels as part of a three-team deal. He went 5-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 2014 before his season ended in August because of Tommy John surgery. He missed all of the 2015 season before returning in 2016. He spent time on and off the disabled list after that and was putting together a nice season this year, going 7-7 with a 4.29 ERA in 15 starts.
But those are just facts and figures. The void he leaves behind is much larger than that. He had just gotten married in December. Skaggs was born in Woodland Hills and his mother, Debbie, was the longtime softball coach at Santa Monica High School. She provided postgame tips on his pitching mechanics deep into his big league career.
Times high school sports reporter/columnist Eric Sondheimer covered Skaggs when he pitched for Santa Monica High, and wrote a column about him which you can read here. Here’s an excerpt:
“Tyler Skaggs was a free-spirited, easily approachable Santa Monica teenager when I first met him in 2008 after hearing about a tall, rapidly developing left-handed high school baseball pitching prospect.
“When I found out he was the son of longtime softball coach Debbie Skaggs, everything began to make sense.
“His mother was a physical education teacher for more than 20 years. She taught him how to be exceptional and respectful on and off the field. Grades mattered. Effort mattered. Competition mattered.
“At Santa Monica High, his velocity kept rising, so much so that professional baseball rather than college baseball became his No. 1 option. He was taken by the Angels as the 45th pick as a supplemental selection in the first round of the 2009 draft.
“He and his family were so excited. There would be obstacles and adversity in his journey to the majors. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010, then traded back to the Angels in 2013. There would be an injury requiring Tommy John surgery. But he was always upbeat, and with a mother who knew how to deal with ups and downs, there was no way he wouldn’t find his way.
“I watched and rooted for him from afar. Just the other day, I saw him on Twitter with a funny video of him interviewing Japanese-speaking Shohei Ohtani trying to drum up support to vote Tommy La Stella into the All-Star game.
“The sadness I feel and those who came in touch with him will be immense following his death. I feel for his family most of all. I will remember the smile and spirit he always showed during his Santa Monica High days. The beach, the ocean, the air — it helps creates a personality that people want to embrace. He’s left us but won’t be forgotten. Now’s the time to remember all the joy he brought people through his 27 years.”
Rest in peace, Tyler Skaggs.
I realize there was some other news happening in the sports world on Monday. Venus Williams lost at Wimbledon. The U.S. was in their final day of preparation for today’s matchup with England in the Women’s World Cup. But it all seems a bit trivial, so we’ll include links to everything in the Odds and Ends section and return to our multiple-topic newsletter tomorrow.
Odds and ends
Wimbledon: 15-year-old Cori Gauff defeats her idol, Venus Williams…. Ex-USC football assistant alleges he was forced out after reporting possible NCAA violations…. Kawhi Leonard’s waiting game raises the stakes for Lakers and Clippers…. Lakers agree to a one-year deal with Troy Daniels…. Patrick Beverley turned down lucrative Kings offer to ‘be Pat’ with Clippers…. Joe Kelly improves on the mound as Dodgers look to boost bullpen before trade deadline…. Women’s World Cup: U.S. can’t afford a letdown against surging England…. Corey Perry begins next phase of NHL career with Dallas Stars
Remembering Tyler Skaggs. Watch it here.