There really should be no difference. In fact, "cheaper" CD players may be using the exact same disc transport mechanism. Any CDP that skips is faulty. It should not happen.
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It could be the laser is on its way out. If it gradually gets worse and worse you're probably looking at a new transport.
The good news is that many highend players use very inexpensive transports, so replacing it really should not run more than $100, perhaps $200 if it's really difficult to open up.
That can be one cause. Another is if the mechanism that positions the laser and reader gets sticky (aging grease) and does not move the assembly smoothly. Either way I think it's a good time to contact the manufacturer to enquire about a checkup and possible transport replacement.
For reference the transport in a Marantz CD17KI (VAM1201) costs about $25 from an electronics supply, and includes the motor, the laser, the sled that positions the laser ... the whole shebang as a single replacement item.
Much hinges on what "mildly scratched" means, but since they presumably play on your cheaper unit, I can only say that I have had only one unit that would occasionally ship and progressively got worse. It was the Philips SACD 1000 which was originally used with the EMM dac. I have one cd that is so scratched that it will not play on any player I have had. It did read on my computer, however, and my copy works fine on my player. I guess read until you have no errors does work.
I suspect that your unit is misbehaving or more correctly the transport is. It may just need cleaning.