When Rob Scahill was optioned down to the Sky Sox team in the tail end of spring training this year, it did not take a significant amount of prescience to guess that he wouldn't be down there for long. As a 2012 September call-up, he set an impressive bar for himself, allowing only one run in his first six major league appearances. After a trampoline-like season between the AAA and major league squads, Scahill could be establishing a place for himself on the roster as a solid middle reliever.
Scahill's first return to the majors came less than a month later, following Jhoulys Chacin's trip to the disabled list. Scahill allowed only a double to Reed Johnson in three innings of work against a 13-5 Atlanta Braves team. In his second brief appearance of the year, he held the 24-17 San Francisco Giants team to only a single in 2.1 more scoreless innings. His first stumble came in his third call-up of the year, where he gave up 3 runs to the innocuous Houston Astros. He gave up his first home run off the bat of Carlos Pena.
Fast forward to September 19, 2013. Scahill's defining moment of the 2013 season came during one of the most exciting and memorable games of the season. Todd Helton had faked a return throw and tagged out Matt Carpenter. Corey Dickerson tripled twice- one to win the game. Troy Tulowitzki homered. Matt Holliday had three runs and three walks against his former team. Then, Todd Helton hit his 368th career homer to push the game into extra innings.
Scahill was brought in at the beginning of the 15th inning. With one out and runners on first and third, he intentionally walked Yadier Molina to load the bases and bring Pete Kozma up to the plate. After throwing the first pitch for a ball, Scahill induced a double play ground ball to end the inning. More than a year after his first major league appearance, this was his first decision and his first win.
If Rockies fans don't reminisce very fondly of Rob Scahill, chances are it is because of the team's inauspicious record in games where he makes an appearance. The team went 7-16 in 2013 (and 8-21 overall) in games where Scahill was on the mound. However, he has established a trend of being a solid reliever in close games. Of his 14 scoreless outings, 8 came in games where the score was decided by one run or less.
Overall Grade: C+
Scahill had a few terrible innings of work, where he fell back down to earth after an impressive (albeit unsustainable) start to his major league career. Considering that 2013 was a year where Scahill trampolined back and forth between AAA and MLB, he has demonstrated better control than at any other time in his career. He walked batters at a clip of 2.4 batters every nine innings (BB/9), which is a significant drop from his career minor league rate of 3.9 BB/9.
Improved control appears to be the key for Rob Scahill's success in 2013. In order to maintain a solid level of performance at the major league level, he will have to find a way to reduce the extra base hits and home runs that he allows.
Despite a rocky September, he should have a place on the major league squad out of the bullpen next year as a very solid middle reliever. He has demonstrated that he can perform at the major league level, and has shown a commitment to improve. He does have two options remaining and is still pre-arbitration eligible.