Photo by Kimberly Contreras

Oakland A's 2017 top-50 prospect scouting report: Skylar Szynski, RHP

Our Oakland A's 2017 top-50 prospects list is out. Now find out more about the players on that list. In this piece, a close look at top-50 prospect Skylar Szynski. Szynski joined the A's from the high school ranks in 2016. What step will he take in his career in 2017?

Name: Skylar Szynski
Position: RHP
Height/Weight: 6’2’’, 205
Bats/Throws: R/R
Age: 19
How Acquired: Selected in the 4th round of the 2016 MLB Draft.

The Oakland A’s signed only three draft picks out of high school in last year’s draft. Only one of those picks was from their top-10 round selections: Skylar Szynski. The A’s went over-slot to bring in the hard-throwing right-hander from Indiana. Will Szynski develop into a future ace? The A’s haven’t historically been a team that has drafted many high school pitchers with top-10 round selections, but since 2010, Oakland has selected and signed six high school pitchers who were top-10 round selections. The A’s have a four-year streak of selecting at least one high school pitcher in the top-10 rounds, with Szynski being the latest on that list. Thus far, none of the six pitchers the A’s have selected out of high school with top-10 round picks over that timeframe have reached the big leagues, but all but one (Tyler Vail) remains in the organization.

As the A’s have done with past high school draft picks, Oakland moved slowly with Szynski in his first professional season. He threw only 13.1 innings in the Arizona Rookie League in his pro debut season, spending more time with A’s coaches on side sessions and in the film room than pitching in games. Szynski also added innings during the A’s fall Instructional League, and he is on track to pitch a full short-season in 2017.

Skylar Szynski 2016 Stats

AZL A's 13.1 8.10 16 4 8 1 .296 1.50 1.58

Right now, Szynski is more projection than polish. In his seven outings for the AZL A’s, Szynski was effective in five of them and struggled in two. The inconsistency came from command issues, which isn’t surprising for a pitcher at his level of experience. But Szynski flashed three potential average to above-average offerings: a fastball that touched 94, a curveball that offers 15 miles of velocity separation from his fastball and a developing change-up with some significant run.

A’s Midwest area scout Rich Sparks followed Szynski closely during his amateur career and signed him to his above-slot $1.1 million bonus after the draft. Sparks graded Szynski the same as 2015 33rd overall pick Nolan Watson, who grew up in the same region as Szynski and is currently one of the Royals’ top pitching prospects.

Skylar Szynski Scouting Video (video by Kimberly Contreras)

Szynski comes from an athletic family and he has a mature build to his 6’2’’ frame. He may add a little more upper-body strength as he matures, but Szynski’s lower body is already a strong foundation for his delivery. He is still learning to repeat his delivery, but he has a quick arm and could potentially add a few ticks of velocity as he streamlines and commits his delivery to muscle memory. Szynski showed maturity during his two rough outings, including his professional debut, when he recorded only one out before leaving with four runs charged to him. Several members of the A’s minor league coaching staff compared Szynski to A’s 2015 third-round pick (and fellow high school draft pick) Dakota Chalmers.

Szynski is likely to follow the same development path as Chalmers and pitch in the New York-Penn League in 2017 before making his full-season debut in 2018. The A’s will be patient with Szynski’s development. 


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