Stanton, who was Jose Fernandez’s teammate when the Miami Marlins pitcher died in a boating accident in 2016, penned a message to the Angels in wake of the 27-year-old’s death.
“RIP Bro, My heart goes out to your family,” Stanton wrote in an Instagram caption. “My message to the @angels while having no time for yourself to grieve is to hug each other, laugh, cry, lift the ones taking it extra hard up.
“You’re going to wonder why all of this is happening, is it real, why are u suiting up to play a game that seems irrelevant. Some Anger will ensue while u have to grieve in a fish bowl.. A lot will go through your mind. So stay together through that. The first days back to schedule are the weirdest feeling, from the energy to the questions to having to walk by his locker.
“Try to Focus & understand how important your strength is for his family, all of your supporters & anyone looking for the power to overcome something. They’re looking @ you for guidance. So you all really need each other right now. Stay strong fellas I’m thinking about you!”
The Angels pitcher was found unresponsive in a Texas hotel room before Los Angeles was set to take on the Rangers. He was pronounced dead at the scene and foul play was not suspected, police said.
Skaggs’ teammate Mike Trout reacted on Twitter to Skaggs’ passing.
“Words cannot express the deep sadness we feel right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with (wife) Carli and their families. Remembering him as a great teammate, friend, and person who will forever remain in our hearts... we love you, 45.”
Stanton and Trout’s statements echoed throughout baseball.
While the team is on a road trip, fans gathered out front of Angel Stadium and left flowers, hats, baseballs, signs and photos in a makeshift memorial mound. It was eerily reminiscent of a fan-created memorial for Nick Adenhart in 2009 – who was killed by a drunk driver.
Born in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Woodland Hills, Skaggs was a first-round draft pick of the Angels out of Santa Monica High School in 2009. 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 had won 25 games over five seasons with the club.
Skaggs 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. 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 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.
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.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain and the Associated Press contributed to this report.