Tyler Skaggs had to choose between professional baseball and college, and months went by without a decision.
But with the deadline a week away, the Santa Monica High pitcher signed a contract with the Angels last Friday. He’ll report to the Angels’ rookie farm team in Tempe, Arizona and pass up a scholarship to Cal State Fullerton.
What took so long? Money.
Skaggs had been projected as a Top Ten pick in the baseball draft, which would have earned him a signing bonus in the range of $4 million. Instead, he suffered a sprained ankle in his senior year, didn’t pitch much and slipped to number 40.
The Angels signed two first round picks, both outfielders, for bonuses in the range of $1.5 million. It is believed they were offering Skaggs $800,000, a figure that required considerably more negotiating instead of a quick signing.
But Skaggs ultimately decided to turn pro with the help of Nez Balelo of CAA Sports, his advisor throughout his senior season and ultimately his agent.
Skaggs has missed valuable time in his rookie pro season but is expected to pitch soon for the farm team. He recently turned 18, and unless he develops faster than expected he’ll spend the next four years riding busses as he attempts to advance through the Angels’ farm system.
Eddie Bane, who was also a left-handed pitcher in his playing days, heads the Angels’ farm system and expressed delight with Skaggs’ signing.
Skaggs will play in the same league as former Santa Monica High star Cody Decker, who signed quickly after being the 22nd round draft choice of the San Diego Padres. Decker, who spent four years at UCLA, is playing first base.