There has been a ton of hype around the kid—in the media, from the coaching staff, and the players.
And he did not disappoint.
I sat behind the plate for 5 innings (I thought he was done after 5), and the 6’6”, 250 pound monster did not disappoint.
Skenes went 6 innings, punching out 12, walking only one in the first, and scattered a few hits without giving up a run.
He sat 96-98 the entire time, touching 99, even in the sixth inning.
Skenes showcased an elite slider at 85/86, and I heard that the announcers were saying his two-seam had 19 inches of horizontal movement.
If that’s true (got to do some homework), that’s wild.
That probably comes from his 3/4 to low 3/4 arm slot that he whips around, which is deadly with his height.
And in the most complimentary way (coming from a dude that is 6’7”), Skenes does not look 6’6”— and it’s only because of his athleticism.
6’6” people aren’t supposed to move that fluidly and and repeat their delivery as well as he does, and to be filled out at his age like is, is an anomaly.
He reminded me a of a taller, stronger Matty Ott who was an electric force for us during our 2009 National Championship run.
I sound like a crazy, optimistic super fan here, and this is coming from a pure stuff perspective— I don’t know if I have been this excited about a Friday night guy like this since Kevin Gausman.
We have had some dominant Friday night guys like Alex Lange, and some crazy electric arms out the pen like Zach Hess— but Skenes seems to have everything that could make him a combo of those two for 6-8 innings.
If he can develop a decent change-up or third pitch to compliment his plus-plus fastball/slider combo, I don’t see how he is not a top 10 pick in the draft this year.
Time will tell how his stuff plays with better competition and we will see what the third pitch will be (change-up looked great in warmups but wasn’t needed much in the game).
No matter what, I find it hard to believe if he does what he did on Friday, that he isn’t a bonafide ace by the end of the year.
6’6”, 96-99, with movement and a nasty slide piece.