Athletics

Redhawk Pitcher Makes His MLB Debut

August 19, 2020

Tarik Skubal

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Former Seattle U Redhawk pitcher Tarik Skubal, ’18, was called up by the Detroit Tigers and made his MLB debut Aug. 18 against the Chicago White Sox.

On August 17, the Detroit Tigers announced the call-up of left-handed pitcher and former Seattle U Redhawk Tarik Skubal, ’18, to the club. Skubal made his Major League Baseball debut on Aug. 18 with a start against the Chicago White Sox.

“I’m very proud of Tarik for his endurance and patience,” says Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel. “He's had hurdles to overcome along the way, whether it be some of the arm issues during his time with us or even this year with the stoppage, but he’s always been a hard worker and bounced back. There was no question in mind that he’d get to Bigs and I’m sure he'll be there for awhile.”

In his three seasons with the Redhawks Skubal finished his career with a 21-7 record, 3.36 ERA and 224 strikeouts. The lefty is the program’s all-time leader in wins and opponent batting average (.221), while being listed second in total strikeouts, third in strikeouts per nine (9.79) and games started (38) and fourth overall in innings pitched (206.0).

Skubal earned a number of accolades including National Player of the Week in 2016, 2015 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America honors and was among the D-I Baseball Top 100 College Prospects in 2018.

Skubal was selected by the Tigers in the ninth-round, 255th overall, during the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft, making him the highest-drafted Seattle U alum in program history. 

In two minor league seasons, Skubal has been a standout performer, traversing the Tigers' organizational ranks from the rookie league in Florida to the club’s top development stop in Double-A Erie. 

In his first professional season, Skubal posted a combined 3-0 record with a 0.40 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 22.1 innings. In 2019, he went 6-8 overall while notching a combined 179 strikeouts and a 2.42 ERA in 24 starts while pitching for Lakeland (A+) and Erie. As a result, the native of Kingman, Ariz., quickly became regarded as one of the top prospects in the minors. 

In early spring, Skubal was invited and joined the Tigers in Florida as part of Spring Training. Following a stoppage during to the pandemic, Skubal rejoined the MLB franchise during Summer Camp workouts, before being added to the alternate squad. 

“For our program this is huge, because and shows how far we've come in a short period,” Harrel says. “With two big league pitchers, I think it’s a great incentive for our current team and is proof that it’s possible.”

With his major league start Skubal will become the second Seattle U pitcher to be appear in the big leagues, joining Milwaukee Brewers’ reliever and 2013 graduate Eric Yardley. Yardley made his MLB debut last season, with a relief appearance for the San Diego Padres. His appearance in the contest made him the first Seattle U baseball alum to play a MLB regular season game in 60 years.

NOTES:
» Per Baseball-Reference.com, Skubal’s start will be the first MLB start by a Seattle U pitcher in 63 years. The last Seattle U pitcher to start a game was Johnny O'Brien in 1957 for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
» On Sunday, Aug. 16, Yardley recorded his first MLB career win, in a 6-5 decision over the Chicago Cubs. Per Baseball-Reference.com, the last Seattle U pitcher to record a big league win was Johnny O'Brien on Sept. 14, 1957, as the Pirates beat the Cubs, 3-1.

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