Tyler Skulina, P
Age: 23 (9/18/1991)
How acquired—Drafted in the 4th round 2013, # 108 overall, out of Kent State University. Scouted by Tim Adkins.
Kane County, Midwest League, Low A (18 G, 4-7, 3.21 ERA, 89.2 IP, 35 BB, 68 K, 1.18 WHIP);
Daytona Cubs, Florida State League, High A (3 G, 0-2, 7.27 ERA, 8.2 IP, 9 BB, 7 K, 2.31 WHIP)
Prior to Cubs
Skulina had a stellar career at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, posting a 26-0 record. He was named 2009 Ohio High School Gatorade Player of the Year, and first-team All-Ohio in 2009 and 2010. The A’s selected Skulina in the 46th round in 2010 but he headed to Virginia. He never threw a pitch for the Cavaliers, transferring to Kent Sate and sitting out 2011. He went 11-3 as a sophomore and tossed 5.2 innings of shutout ball against Oregon in the Super Regional elimination game helping Kent State to their first-ever College World Series. A two-time second-team All-MAC performer, Skulina threw 93.2 innings as a junior in 15 starts with 102 strikeouts and a 3.36 ERA.
After inking his deal, Skulina made his pro debut in the Northwest League for Boise on July 2 throwing 1.1 shutout innings in relief. The fourth-round pick appeared in eight games for the Hawks, not allowing a run in his first 10.1 frames. He earned an August promotion to Kane County but struggled with his command in the MWL. After walking three in 15 innings at Boise, Skulina issued six free passes in 9.2 innings for Kane County. The 22-year-old went 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA in MWL, surrendering 14 hits and a .341 BAA.
Skulina made history in his 14th career start, combining with Nathan Dorris for a no-hitter against Quad Cities on May 17. He worked 7.1 frames, and fanned five while issuing two walks. He earned his first pro win on April 10 and fanned a career-high seven three times. I saw him pitch in July and he had a good outing, with no walks over six innings, allowing one run. He has a nice easy motion and had no problems with his command that day, and was able to throw his fastball (low 90s) consistently for strikes. Skulina made 18 starts for Kane County, logging 89.2 innings and only walked five hitters over his final 21.1 innings in the MWL. He never found any rhythm in Daytona after being promoted Aug. 1, issuing nine walks in three starts along with 11 runs.
I had the fortune to talk to Kane County pitching coach David Rosario about Skulina. He said he creates good movement on his fastball because of his height and long arms, and has a good breaking ball. Rosario said he needs to continue to work on his delivery to create consistency, and if can do that, the Cubs are going to have a “pretty good pitcher.” That work and development should continue at Myrtle Beach as Skulina looks to get some revenge on High A hitters. He’ll be reunited with Rosario and continue to seek that consistency his pitching coach preaches.