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Less than a year after being selected with the fourth overall pick of the 2012 draft, Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman is set to make his major league debut.
As first reported by FOX Sports, the right-hander will be promoted on Thursday to start in the opener of a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Louisiana State product has made just 13 starts in his professional career but has captivated scouts and frustrated opponents with a devastating fastball-changeup combination as well as an improving slider.
In eight starts for Double-A Bowie this season, Gausman is 2-4 with a 3.11 earned run average over 46 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-3 pitcher allowed 44 hits, struck out 49, and walked just five as many expected him to arrive in Baltimore at some point this season.
The 22-year-old’s most recent start came on May 17 against Trenton when he struck out 10 and allowed just one earned run in six innings of work. Gausman had allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last five starts for the Baysox and Double-A hitters were batting .246 against him.
He was scheduled to make his next start at Akron on Wednesday, but the Baysox announced just before midnight on Tuesday he was being scratched.
In an interview with AM 1570 WNST last week, Gausman speculated that he’d need to string together 10 consecutive quality starts before he’d be in the running for a promotion. It turns out he was on the verge of making his final minor-league start — at least for now — at the time of the interview.
Baltimore’s starting pitching problems haven’t been a secret as Orioles starting pitching entered Tuesday’s game with a 4.85 ERA, ranking 11th in the American League. Gausman will become the 11th pitcher to start a game for the Orioles this season.
Having optioned right-hander Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for the returning Miguel Gonzalez on Tuesday night, manager Buck Showalter said earlier in the day that Jake Arrieta and T.J. McFarland were the primary candidates to make Thursday’s start against the Blue Jays.