Tag Archive | "kevin gausman"

Right decision or not, Orioles were prepared to promote Gausman

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Right decision or not, Orioles were prepared to promote Gausman

Posted on 23 May 2013 by Luke Jones

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Less than 48 hours after news broke that the Orioles were promoting Kevin Gausman to the big leagues, it’s safe to say the hype machine has been in overdrive ever since.

Hours before his Thursday night debut in Toronto, fans and media continued to debate the merits of whether Gausman should be in the majors after making just eight starts for Double-A Bowie and 13 professional starts overall. The decision is viewed by some as an act of desperation as Gausman becomes the 11th starting pitcher the Orioles have sent to the hill before Memorial Day as part of a struggling rotation.

Some have even gone as far as debating how much money Gausman will command as a “Super Two” arbitration-eligible player — before he even threw his first pitch in the major leagues.

I even heard a rumor earlier Thursday that the powdered mini-donuts the 22-year-old right-hander likes to superstitiously eat between innings will be renamed “Gausmans” in tribute to the former LSU standout.

Truthfully, there’s no way of knowing whether executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is making the right call in promoting the 2012 first-round pick less than a year after he was taken with the fourth overall selection of the amateur draft. His performance against the Blue Jays on Thursday night doesn’t change that, either.

The comparisons have already been made with last August’s promotion of 20-year-old third baseman Manny Machado, but no two players are the same. What that decision did tell you, however, was the Orioles’ willingness to take calculated risks with players in their farm system in order to win.

Conventional wisdom suggests even a college pitcher isn’t ready for the big leagues after 13 starts in the minors, but nothing about Gausman’s ability appears conventional. A mid-to-upper-90s fastball and superb changeup projected Gausman as a top draft pick last year, but the improvement of his slider as a real factor in his repertoire was exactly what the Orioles needed to see.

“I definitely improved,” said Gausman of his time with Double-A Bowie. “I think the biggest thing has probably been my slider improved more than anything, just being able to throw it in different situations. I’ve talked kind of all year about kind of learning different ways to throw it in different situations, so that’s definitely something I’ve learned how to do more than anything else.”

Even in spring training, the Orioles took an extra-long look at Gausman, which provided all the information you needed to know that he was a real option for the 2013 season and the club wanted to expose him to the major-league clubhouse. Appearing in seven Grapefruit League games and making two starts, Gausman pitched to a 3.94 earned run average in 16 innings of work before he was finally reassigned to minor-league camp on March 28. Some were already convinced he was one of their best five starting pitchers, but there were enough imperfections in addition to his lack of experience that made it clear Gausman would start the season in the minors.

Unlike fellow top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy last season, the older Gausman showed superb command (49 strikeouts to five walks) at Double-A Bowie and has a solid time to the plate, the latter being a major point of emphasis for the organization that augments All-Star catcher Matt Wieters’ ability to throw out so many runners on the bases. Gausman fields his position well and pitched in more pressure situations in the Southeastern Conference than the typical minor leaguer encounters at any level shy of the majors.

“We’ll see how it plays up here,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys that had low walk totals not have them up here. I’ve seen guys have high walk totals down there, and with more aggressive hitters, they went down up here. It’s a different kind of hitter up here. They’re here because they can hit. So, we’ll see.”

Do any of those strengths mean Gausman is ready for prime time? Of course not, but you never really know if a prospect is ready until he advances to a higher level, regardless of how dramatic the jump. It’s the reason why so many “can’t-miss” prospects have missed over the years. It’s an inexact science and as Showalter likes to often remind us, these are human beings with emotions and games aren’t played on paper.

Would another four weeks or two months really do that much to help Gausman if he’s already the best option the Orioles have among their starters in the minor leagues? His ability to improve his slider in such a short span of time reflects the kind of learning curve that should allow Gausman to make adjustments quickly as major league hitters learn the book on him over his first handful of starts.

It’s impossible not to have at least the slightest concern of rushing Gausman too quickly and hurting his psyche, but Showalter took a pragmatic approach in addressing that very question on Wednesday. And everything about Gausman suggests he’s a confident young man who’s up to the challenge mentally.

“It’s like I’ve said many times, you can’t screw up the good ones,” Showalter said. “They’re going to seek their level. And we think Kevin sooner or later will seek his level. We hope it’s soon.”

Yes, his quick route to the majors raises eyebrows and goes against the norm, but the Orioles think they have someone extraordinary on their hands who breaks the mold of conventional.

Thursday night does nothing in determining whether Gausman is truly ready or not, but the right-hander did everything within his power to make a difficult decision as easy as possible for the organization. And they were willing to pull the trigger when it became apparent that Gausman was their best option from below.

“I’m trying not to think about it too much and just go out there and keep doing what I’ve been doing,” Gausman said prior to his first career start. “Throw strikes and just try to pitch my game.”

Perhaps not thinking about it too much is good advice for us all if his talent is as special as advertised.


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Gausman Call-Up Seems Like Desperation

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Gausman Call-Up Seems Like Desperation

Posted on 22 May 2013 by Brett Dickinson

Most of the top 100 prospects in baseball make it known when they are ready to make the jump to the MLB. When making a significant call-up, there is only a select few reasons to do so; desperation is not one of them.  Taking into the account how volatile the pitching position is, the Orioles may be making a drastic mistake with Kevin Gausman.

Most players are at least awarded a full season in the minors (and especially pitchers), before making their way to the big leagues.  Yet Gausman has a total of 60. 4 innings logged between Low A, High A and AA ball, with the team.  He has only amassed over seven innings twice in that span; a situation the Orioles are hoping to generate on a regular basis with him.

There is only a select few pitchers to make a major impact with such little seasoning in the minors, namely Stephen Strasburg; who was arguably the greatest pitching prospect to ever enter the majors.  Since his 2010 debut as starter, he had Tommy John surgery, had his innings limited so much he did not appear in the Nationals first playoff appearance and is performing well under expectations in 2013 (2-5 W/L record).

Gausman is nowhere near that type of talent and has not dominated the minor leagues, to think he could ever get to that level.   His most recent start has been the best of his professional career, going six innings, with ten strikeouts, one walk and one earned run.  But before that, he only went 4.2 innings with three walks and three hits on April 5th.

The Orioles knee-jerk reaction to one good start, a stretch of six straight losses for the big league club and a depleted pitching staff, have led to Gausman’s debut on Thursday night in Toronto.  They will say there were no other options, but they recently sent down Steve Johnson and Jair Jurrjens, after one underwhelming start.  Both should get another shot with the club, but the team seems  insistent on generating some buzz during their low point of the season.

This move is in direct correlation with the Orioles lack of production in the offseason.  With key subtractions to the rotation and bullpen, a once deep pitching core lacks arms to fill in.  Thrusting Gausman into action early could have been avoided with keeping their playoff team intact or making price-effective pitching options that flooded the market before the season started.

The argument that Manny Machado was successful in his early call-up last year is a moot point, because most of his success in 2012 came because of his fielding prowess, not his ability at the plate.  If he were a below-average fielder, people would have questioned the move to risk their future franchise player.  Machado also spent over a full season in the minors before his call-up, just like other phenoms like, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.

Gausman has yet to face failure in his baseball career, like most high prospects, which is an attribute every player must learn to adjust to before becoming successful.  How will he react after getting hit up for more than two runs or having to get out of inning with RISP and one out?  If he is not mentally ready to take on those daunting tasks, which even great pitchers face on a regular basis, his development could be set back drastically.

In Baltimore, they should be all too familiar with these situations, watching pitchers like Zach Britton and Brian Matusz display early success, to only be demoted after not handling adversity.  Will the Orioles have to send Gausman back down after a few starts?

Gausman could help the Orioles get back on pace but the odds are against him.  The Orioles are putting a player, they are dependent on for their long-term future, in a bad spot and risking his career over a bad week of baseball.

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Standout prospect Gausman set to make major league debut on Thursday

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Standout prospect Gausman set to make major league debut on Thursday

Posted on 21 May 2013 by Luke Jones

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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.

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Orioles minor league recap – 4/16

Posted on 17 April 2013 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system on Tuesday…

* Jair Jurrjens allowed three earned runs in six innings and Jason Pridie clubbed a three-run triple to lead Triple-A Norfolk to a 4-3 win over Gwinnett

* Top pitching prospect Kevin Gausman was roughed up for five earned runs in six innings as Double-A Bowie dropped a 9-6 final to Erie

* Nick Delmonico clubbed a home run to help Single-A Frederick to a 6-5 win over Lynchburg

* Parker Bridwell worked five solid innings to earn his first win of the season for Single-A Delmarva in a 6-4 win against Kannapolis

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Bundy, Gausman named to Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list

Posted on 19 February 2013 by Luke Jones

Always a highlight of the offseason, Baseball America released its top 100 prospect list on Tuesday with two Orioles being featured prominently.

Right-handed pitchers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman each appeared on the list as the 20-year-old Bundy is ranked as the second-best prospect in baseball while Gausuman, the club’s first-round selection a year ago, made his debut in the No. 26 spot.

Ranked 10th on last year’s prospects list and first in last season’s midseason rankings from the publication, Bundy is the prized possession of the Baltimore farm system after third baseman Manny Machado was promoted to the majors last August. The fourth overall pick of the 2011 draft received a cup of coffee with the Orioles in September, appearing in two games, and stayed with the club during its first postseason push in 15 years.

The 20-year-old Bundy split time between Delmarva, Frederick, and Bowie last season, going 9-3 with a 2.08 earned run average that included 119 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings.

Gausman was the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft after a successful career at LSU and was a last-minute signing at last July’s deadline. The 22-year-old made five combined starts at Aberdeen and Frederick, allowing six earned runs and striking out 13 in 15 innings of work. Gausman was even elevated a step higher to make a playoff start for Double-A Bowie, tossing three scoreless innings for the Baysox.

Manager Buck Showalter has said this spring that the organization will manage each pitcher’s innings in an effort to have both available to pitch in September. The general consensus is that each pitcher will begin the season at Double-A Bowie.

No other Orioles prospects cracked the Baseball America top 100.

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Bundy, Gausman headline Orioles’ top 10 prospects list

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Bundy, Gausman headline Orioles’ top 10 prospects list

Posted on 29 October 2012 by Luke Jones

With the 2012 season officially in the rear-view mirror, Baseball America released the Orioles’ 2013 top 10 prospects list on Monday with the club’s top draft pick in each of the last two years leading the way.

After making his major league debut in September, 19-year-old pitcher Dylan Bundy was named the organization’s top prospect by the publication as the right-hander is projected to be the Orioles’ ace of the future. The organization’s minor league pitcher of the year made two relief appearances, allowing one hit and walking one in 1 2/3 innings.

The No. 4 pick of the 2012 draft, right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman was second on the list and is projected to be a top-half-of-the-rotation starter in the future. Signed just minutes before the deadline, the 21-year-old made five starts late in the season between low Single-A Aberdeen and high Single-A Frederick, going 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 15 innings of work.

The top positional player on the list was infielder Jonathan Schoop, who hit .245 with 14 home runs and 56 runs batted in for Double-A Bowie this season. The 20-year-old split time between second base and shortstop, moving to the latter position after current Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was promoted to the big leagues on Aug. 9.

The Orioles’ minor league position player of the year, outfielder L.J. Hoes, was ranked sixth on the list and received a September call-up as a reward for his efforts.

Of the 10 prospects on Baseball America’s list, only Bundy and Gausman are considered “safe” bets — if such an idea exists for minor-league players — but Schoop’s age and premium power as a middle infielder have made him an intriguing talent held in high regard with many members of the organization.

Here is the full list from Baseball America:

1. Dylan Bundy, RHP
2. Kevin Gausman, RHP
3. Jonathan Schoop, 2B/SS
4. Nicky Delmonico, 1B/2B
5. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
6. L.J. Hoes, OF
7. Xavier Avery, OF
8. Mike Wright, RHP
9. Branden Kline, RHP
10. Adrian Marin, SS

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Gausman works three perfect innings in pro debut

Posted on 06 August 2012 by WNST Staff

STATE COLLEGE, PA – Backed by stellar pitching, the IronBirds claimed the three-game series in State College with a 4-1 win over the Spikes on Monday night. 2012 fourth-overall pick, RHP Kevin Gausman, made his professional debut on the evening and did not disappoint. Gausman retired all nine batters he faced including two via the strikeout.

With Kevin Gausman set to make his pro debut in State College, the IronBirds gave the first rounder some runs to work with. The Birds plated three runs on four hits in the first. CF Anthony Vega led off the game with a single through the right side of the infield. After Vega stole second, 2B Creede Simpson singled to left. RF Lucas Herbst drove both Vega and Simpson in with a double to right field off RHP Clario Perez. The hit parade continued as SS Joel Hutter doubled down the right field line. Herbst scored on the play to give Aberdeen at an early three-run lead. Hutter’s double extended his hitting to streak to 10 games.

Three runs turned out to be plenty for the IronBirds staff. Kevin Gausman retired all nine batters he faced in his professional debut. Gausman struck out Walker Gourley and David Valesente in succession to end the first inning and pitched to contact for the final six outs.

Gausman threw 31 pitches, 23 strikes, on the night and finished up with two strikeouts.

LHP Cameron Coffey piggybacked Gausman and picked up where the first rounder left off. Coffey matched a season-high with five innings of work and only allowed one run on two hits while striking out three and walking two.

Tommy Winegardner closed out Monday’s game with a perfect ninth inning as Winegardner notched his fourth save of the season.

Coffey (2-5) picked up the win for the IronBirds while Clario Perez (0-3) got the loss.

The IronBirds will head back to Aberdeen on Tuesday and will begin a three-game series against the Tri-City ValleyCats. LHP Lex Rutledge (0-0, 13.50) will make his second start of the year for the IronBirds while the ValleyCats will turn to RHP Vince Velazquez (4-1, 2.55). First pitch from Ripken Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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Down to wire, first-round pick Gausman signs with Orioles

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Down to wire, first-round pick Gausman signs with Orioles

Posted on 13 July 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — It came down to the final nervous moments, but the Orioles signed No. 4 overall pick Kevin Gausman to bring another talented pitcher to the organization.

The LSU right-hander agreed to terms on a contract just before the 5 p.m. deadline on Friday and announced the news himself on his Twitter account.

“I was confident we were going to get a deal done,” Gausman said. “I feel so blessed to have this opportunity and just real excited about this road I will be starting soon.”

According to Keith Law, Gausman signed a deal worth $4.32 million, which was more than the assigned pool amount of $4.2 million for the No. 4 overall pick in the first round. However, the Orioles will not be required to pay any tax because they stayed within their allotted bonus pool under the new collective bargaining agreement.

Scouting director Gary Rajsich said the organization was confident they would sign the talented 21-year-old, but there were some nervous moments along the way. A report earlier in the week hinted that Gausman was “strongly considering” returning to LSU for his junior season, and the pitcher said it was a difficult decision to leave Baton Rouge.

“We are thrilled to have Kevin,” Rajsich said. “I do love a power pitcher with a fastball with a lot of movement on it who can control the speed of bats with his changeup. He can throw it for strikes back-to-back so it is an effective pitch for him.”

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said the organization hasn’t finalized plans for where Gausman will report for the remainder of the 2012 season, but a decision will be made over the next few days. He reminded everyone that Gausman had a heavy workload for the Tigers this season, which will factor into how much he will pitch in the Orioles’ system for the remainder of this year.

Gausman possesses mid-90s velocity on his four-seam fastball and also throws a two-seamer he feels is appropriate for pitching at homer-happy Camden Yards. His changeup is considered a plus-pitch, but his breaking stuff — a curveball and a slider — is still  a work in progress.

“How long I spend in certain places [in the minors] is going to be determined by those pitches and whether I’m going to keep one or try to develop both,” Gausman said. “That will be a big difference maker for me.”

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound draft-eligible sophomore went 11-1 with a 2.72 ERA (115 2/3 innings), 128 strikeouts, 27 walks and two complete games in 16 starts for LSU this season. Gausman was 5-6 with a 3.51 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 89 2/3 innings in his freshman season in 2011.

He was originally selected out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2010 draft but elected to go to LSU instead. Gausman is the third first-round pick the Orioles have selected from LSU, joining Ben McDonald in 1989 and Mike Fontenot in 2001.

To hear Gausman’s introductory press conference as well as comments from Duquette and Rajsich, visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

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Orioles’ top pick Gausman leaning toward returning to LSU?

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Orioles’ top pick Gausman leaning toward returning to LSU?

Posted on 10 July 2012 by Luke Jones

With Friday’s deadline looming to sign first-round pick Kevin Gausman, the Orioles apparently will have to sweat out the negotiations to the bitter end.

The Times-Picayune reported Monday night the No. 4 pick in June’s draft is “seriously considering” returning to college and leaving roughly $4 million on the table from the Orioles. The club has until 4:59 p.m. on Friday to complete a deal or Gausman would stay at Louisiana State and the Orioles would receive the fifth overall pick in next year’s amateur draft as compensation. The club would not be allowed to use the slotted bonus money to sign other picks, however.

“This is turning out to be a tough decision, but as of now my heart is still with LSU,” Gausman told the Louisiana newspaper. “There are still things for me to accomplish as a Tiger. I still want to play in and win the College World Series, and with a lot of guys coming back next year I believe we can do it.”

The Orioles and scouting director Gary Rajsich have signed eight of their first 10 selections in the 2012 draft. The suggested value of the No. 4 pick for 2012 is $4.2 million, meaning the Orioles would have to pay a tax and potentially forfeit future picks if they chose to offer more.

Should the Orioles fail to sign Gausman, it would mark the first time since 2004 a first-round pick would not sign with the club. Rice pitcher Wade Townsend elected to pass on the Orioles after being drafted with the eighth overall pick and never reached the major leagues after an injury-plagued career in the minors.

Of course, most would view this as simple posturing in the final week of negotiations as the new collective bargaining agreement doesn’t allow clubs to offer major league contracts to draft picks as the Orioles did to sign top prospect Dylan Bundy in 2011. Gausman’s comments to the media outlet suggest as much if you choose to read between the lines.

“I also believe I’ll only continue to improve and become a more complete pitcher working with (LSU pitching coach Alan Dunn),” Gausman said. “I have no problem at all going back to LSU. We’ll see what happens.”

We’ll see what happens, indeed.

Gausman can express his love for LSU and for playing in the SEC all he wants, but he would be taking a major risk returning to college and leaving that much money on the table. Though he has two years of college eligibility remaining, the risk involved of an injury or ineffectiveness outweighs the benefit of only moving up three spots at best in next year’s draft.

Stranger scenarios have played out, but it’d be very surprising to see Gausman walk away from guaranteed money and roll the dice for another year at the collegiate level.


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