Quick Looks: Biagini & Skoglund by Jeff Zimmerman June 2, 2017 Joe Biagini (Blue Jays) Toronto took Biagini in the Rule 5 draft before the 2016 season and the selection is now paying dividends. He started this season as a reliever but transitioned to being a starter in early May. Since then, the 27-year-old has posted a respectable 3.86 ERA (3.21 FIP). I watched his last start at home against Texas and here are my thoughts. Fastball: 91-94 mph with sink. Every source labels this pitch as a 4-seamer but it is nearly an elite 2-seamer with swing-and-miss (6.7%) and ground ball (61%) capability. It’s acceptable as long as he has some breaking balls to finish off hitters. Curve: 76-80 mph. This pitch is a work of art. It’s has a classic 12-6 break and hitters couldn’t seem to pick it up out of this hand. He can throw it for strikes or use as a chase pitch (20% SwStr%). So far this season, all the batted ball off it have been ground balls. Change (Cutter): 85-90 mph. Another good looking pitch with a late sink (57% GB%). He can throw over 90 mph and then the pitch tracking system seemed to start labeling it as a cutter. He may have a different grip for this cutter, but both pitches are in the same speed range and identical breaking action. Slider (Cutter): 90 mph with sharp horizontal glove side break. Rarely threw it and never for a called strike. The results in the start I watched were by far the best he’s thrown this season. I’m a worried it might be a one off game but I was impressed. He’s got an acceptable fastball with two above-average offspeed pitches to finish off batters. I want to see him throw similar start but I’m close to being all in on him in all formats. If he can keep his ERA at or under 4.00, he’s a top 50 starter with similar production to Kyle Hendricks, Adam Wainwright, and Tanner Roark. These aren’t elite pitchers but still universally owned in almost all formats. Now, I do have a couple reservations. With the first batter, he went fastball, curve, change. This batter saw everything he had on just three pitches. He seemed to still be in reliever mode where he was emptying the kitchen sink to get each batter out. I’m worried he may struggle the second or third time through the order to get batters out. Also, he may struggle for Wins. He’s just now getting to the pitch count to get credit for the Win. Here are his innings thrown (pitch count) in his five starts: 4.0 (52), 5.0 (68), 4.0 (67), 4.1 (77), and 6.0 (95). This last start is encouraging but again, I would love to see him do it again. Eric Skoglund (Royals) I watched the 24-year-old lefty’s debut when he outdueled Verlander. While the results were great (zero runs allowed), I was not impressed Fastball: Sat 89-92 mph and touched 95 mph. It was horizontally straight with some rise. It’s likely to generate a ton of flyballs and he has to hope they stay in the park. Here’s video of one of his fastballs going to the warning track along with his game spray chart. The flyballs placed in the right field corner will be home runs once the weather heats up or he has to pitch somewhere besides spacious Kaufman Stadium. I think the pitch is average at best but here he is getting a Miguel Cabrera to whiff at one. Slider: 84-87 mph with 9-3 sweeping break. I don’t like it. The break isn’t sharp, so it won’t generate many swinging strikes. Also, there’s no vertical drop to generate ground balls. Curveball: 76-81 mph. It’s a hard curve with normally little to no loopy action. It can get loopy at lower velocities. He had problems getting it near the strike zone so hitters weren’t even tempted to chase it. Also, he does something funky with his hands when he finishes his delivery which might tip off the pitch. Changeup: 83 mph. Straight and bad. Nothing good going on here. With Skoglund, I have my reservations. The first is that he doesn’t seem like a finished product and could use some minor league season to tighten up all his breaking balls. If he stays in the majors, don’t expect the luck shown in his first start to continue. He easily could have given up six or more runs if the start came at Yankee Stadium. He may be worth a flier in dynasty or 20-team or deeper leagues but I have no desire to own him right now in anything shallower.