Tarik Skubal

Kingman baseball prodigy Tarik Skubal is a millionaire. The 27-year-old who grew up in Kingman where he enjoyed success in youth and high school hardball involvements avoided arbitration when he inked a $2.65-million deal with the Detroit Tigers on Jan. 11.

CBS Sports reported the one-year deal for the 6-3, 240 pound starting pitcher is a sound move for the Tigers.

“This is obviously a massive value for Detroit, as Skubal pitched like a frontline starter after returning from injury last season,” CBS reported on its fantasy baseball website. “The27-year-old left logged a 2.80 ERA, a .90 WHIP and 102 strikeouts in 80.1 innings across 15 starts.”

Experts are optimistic that Skubal will enjoy an excellent season this year. CBS sports ranks him as the 18th best pitcher coming into the 2024 campaign while Rotochamp has him higher, at #7.

Bill McCord, teacher and youth sports coach in Kingman, said Skubal was excited after they exchanged text messages Thursday about his new contract. McCord said Skubal was a standout on the Kingman Crush youth travel team and that he uses him as an example to motivate and inspire Kingman kids today.

“He worked his butt off to get where he’s at and I do,” McCord said. “I talk to a lot of my older kids at the high school and say there’s a lot of work involved in getting there.”

McCord said Skubal visits Kingman schools when he’s back in town and that he’s arranged for portions of proceeds from a baseball card deal to be donated to the local little league program.

“He’s a humble kid and he hasn’t forgotten where he’s from,” McCord said.

McCord said Skubal wants to throw and work out every day and that he asks him to find him a catcher to toss to when he is in Kingman. McCord said he surrendered that gig a decade ago when Skubal was scary on the mound in high school.

“I got behind the plate because whoever was catching wasn’t ready yet and it was hard to see the ball and it moves incredibly,” McCord said. “And that is back when he was throwing in the 80’s, so it’s a little different now I’m sure.”

Different indeed! Skubal increased his velocity last year, consistently throwing in the mid-90’s while occasionally topping out at 100 miles per hour.

Dave Hawkins