2022 High Level Birmingham (AA)
Age relative to high level +1.9 years
SSS rank among all catchers in the system 7
Overall 2022 stats 69 games ⚾️ 11 HR ⚾️ 25 RBI ⚾️ .233/.359/.466 ⚾️ 37 BB ⚾️ 76 K ⚾️ 19-of-101 CS (18%)
A native of suburban Libertyville, Skoug enjoyed an impressive three-year run as the TCU backstop from 2015-17. In his junior season he hit for much more power, but at the expense of average and strikeouts. That season with the Horned Frogs, in which he shared the Big 12 Player of the Year award with Texas Tech’s Hunter Hargrove, Skoug slashed .272/.378/.544 with 11 doubles, 20 homers, 73 RBIs, 40 walks (12.8%) and 98 strikeouts (31.4%). His strikeout frequency, along with concerns about his defense, caused him to fall to the seventh round of the 2017 draft, where the White Sox snagged him for a $300,000 bonus.
After a terrific four games for the AZL White Sox in 2017, Skoug was promoted to Kannapolis where, in 21 games, he slashed a meager .154/.263/.308. The lefty bat returned to the Intimidators for the 2018 season, and continued his struggles by hitting just .192/.283/.299 in 83 games, as he hit just five homers with 34 walks (10.9%) and 93 strikeouts (29.9%).
In 2019, Skoug struggled equally with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem, as he combined to slash just .168/.284/.330 in 62 games while producing 10 doubles, six homers and 32 walks (14.0%); Skoug countered his impressive walk total with 73 strikeouts (31.9%).
Skoug, who also had an emergency cup of coffee with Triple-A Charlotte in 2021, continued to struggle at the dish in that season, after the pandemic season cancellation. Between the Dash and Knights, Skoug slashed .174/.287/.360 (80 wRC+) with seven doubles, seven homers, 22 walks (11.7%) and 50 strikeouts (26.6%) in 161 at-bats. While he still walked plenty and cut down his strikeouts slightly, Skoug’s batting average remained unsightly. He did nail potential base stealers at an impressive 31.7% clip, which is nearly identical to his career average.
Interestingly, some things have flipped for Skoug, and in 2022 he had his best offensive season by far, with an .825 OPS — and did so in one of the less hospitable venues, Regions Field in Birmingham. Always considered a bat-first catcher, the power is finally starting to materialize. He’s still not a great backstop — the new rules in MiLB encouraging stolen bases positively murdered his CS% — but Skoug has cut down on passed balls considerably.
It’s a toss-up as to whether the backstop starts back in Birmingham or sees Opening Day in Charlotte. Despite a trajectory that still spells org catcher, if Skoug can keep his offensive run going while maintaining even passable defense, he’ll suit up for Charlotte sometime in 2023.