June 8, 2012
Draft Day Deliveries, Part 1
The 2012 First-Year Player Draft had a tough act to follow, as last year's draft featured a historic wealth of pitching talent, including a record-setting four hurlers being selected before any hitters went off the board. This year's draft was hitter-heavy at the top, with position players selected with the top three overall picks. Pitchers then went flying off the board in five of the next six selections. The only pitcher in the discussion at no. 1 overall was Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, but his bonus demands may have been responsible for a stock drop at the 11th hour.
The draft content on MLB Network had scouting videos of the top players, including in-game footage, and I utilized these scouting clips for many of the evaluations that follow. I have also provided links to each player's “draft report” from mlb.com, though in some cases the footage leaves much to be desired. With so few pitches spread across such disparate situations, I have opted to forgo the Mechanics Report Cards for the draftees. Sample-size caveats aside, the development patterns of young pitchers can be erratic, so consider these evaluations to be more of a Mechanics Progress Report. We will tackle the pitchers selected among the top 10 overall picks, before venturing deeper into the first round next week.
A draft-eligible sophomore, the LSU right-hander is actually several months older than first-round juniors Mark Appel and Kyle Zimmer. Unfortunately, there are no collegiate video clips for Gausman on mlb.com and his draft report consists of just a few poorly zoomed photographs. The only video feed at the MLB site is his high school scouting video from the 2010 draft, and while I really like what I see in the high school clip, the footage provided by MLB Network on Draft Day 2012 indicates that much has changed in his two years at LSU. The lack of footage is disappointing, because one needs to see Gausman's delivery in action to appreciate it, and I encourage anyone with Monday's draft on his DVR to fast-forward to the fourth overall pick.
Gausman is all arms and legs, with a lanky frame and long levers. He looks like a bird of prey tucking into folded wings before emerging to strike. A huge leg lift allows him to compensate for modest momentum from the windup to produce a decent stride, though he brings the front foot down before his center of mass can travel very far toward the plate. The momentum is better in the clips with runners on base, as he mostly retains the leg lift but quickens his pace, a combination that is a net positive for Gausman's delivery from the stretch.