ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Former Salt Lake Bees, Orem Owlz and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died Monday at the age of 27, stunning Major League Baseball and leading to the postponement of the team’s game against the Texas Rangers.
The Bees game against Tacoma was also postponed Monday night.
Skaggs was with the team in Texas when he was found unresponsive in his hotel room, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said they are investigating, but no foul play is suspected at this time.
Skaggs was “an important part of the Angels Family,” the team said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Carli, and his entire family during this devastating time.”
Skaggs started 11 games for the Salt Lake Bees in 2014, 2016 and 2017, and made his minor league debut with the Orem Owlz in 2009.
Skaggs, who would have turned 28 on July 13, had been a regular in the Angels’ starting rotation since late 2016, when he returned from Tommy John surgery. He struggled with injuries repeatedly over the past three seasons but persevered to become a valuable starter in Los Angeles’ injury-plagued rotation.
The left-hander had just pitched on Saturday, allowing two runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 4-0 loss to Oakland.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was “deeply saddened” by Skaggs’ death.
“We will support the Angels’ organization through this most difficult period, and we will make a variety of resources available to Tyler’s teammates and other members of the baseball family,” Manfred said in a statement.
Skaggs was born in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Woodland Hills, in the far western part of the sprawling San Fernando Valley. He graduated from Santa Monica High School in 2009, when the Angels drafted him in the first round.
The Angels traded Skaggs to Arizona in 2010, and he started his big-league career with 13 appearances over two seasons for the Diamondbacks. The Angels reacquired him in December 2013, and he has won 25 games over five seasons with the club.
Skaggs started a career-high 24 games last season, going 8-10 with a 4.02 ERA. He missed playing time in April this season with a sprained ankle but came back strong.
Skaggs was part of the same Angels’ draft class as Mike Trout, and they were roommates in the low minor leagues before Skaggs was traded to Arizona. They played on the same team in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2010.
Cleveland Indians ace Trevor Bauer, who played with Skaggs in the Diamondbacks organization, tweeted: “We came up together. We won together. We laughed and celebrated together. Today, we all lose and mourn together.”
Skaggs’ mother, Debbie, was the longtime softball coach at Santa Monica High School. She famously provided postgame tips on his pitching mechanics, even deep into his big-league career.
Skaggs grew up in Santa Monica, on the west side of the sprawling Los Angeles metroplex, but rooted for the Angels instead of the closer Dodgers.