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May 30, 2013

Raising Aces

Kevin Gausman, the Debut Ante

by Doug Thorburn


Kevin Gausman was the first pitcher chosen in the 2012 amateur draft, selected fourth overall out of LSU by the Baltimore Orioles. The right-hander soared through the minor leagues, earning a 2013 assignment to Double-A following just 15 innings in the low minors and then needing fewer than 50 innings at Bowie before the Orioles deemed him ready for the Show. Gausman’s quick promotion, following that of Jose Fernandez, is another example of the philosophy that powers TINSTAAPP.

Minor League Stats

IP

ERA

WHIP

K %

BB %

46.3

3.11

1.06

25.7%

2.6%

Gausman's minor league strikeout rate was solid yet unspectacular considering his pedigree and repertoire, but the obscenely low walk rate stands out. He posted a gaudy K-to-walk ratio of 49-to-5 in Double-A this season, and his true outcome stats were well-rounded, with just three homers allowed. Upon being called up, the 22-year-old Gausman became the youngest pitcher in the American League, and his first assignment came Thursday in Toronto. It was a classic battle of power versus power, pitting Gausman's high-90s velocity against a Blue Jays lineup whose 67 home runs through Tuesday’s games were the third most in baseball.

The first pitch of Gausman’s career was a 96-mph fastball to leadoff man Melky Cabrera that missed above its intended location for a ball. Gausman got the ball back from catcher Matt Wieters, but then had to toss the potentially historic ball back to the umpire so that it could be removed from play. He appeared to be slightly bothered by the distraction, despite the gesture’s benevolent intentions, but one can forgive the kid for wanting to go right back after Cabrera.

The young Oriole is a quick worker, and his eagerness to get back into rhythm gave the early impression of a fierce competitor. Cabrera would see five consecutive fastballs with steadily increasing velocity up to 98 mph, but he was able to convert a lunging swing into a single up the middle. Gausman mixed in some off-speed stuff against no. 2 hitter Jose Bautista, including an 82-mph slider that was over-rotated and that finished too far out of the zone to be a factor, as well as a cliff-diving changeup that resulted in an F-9.

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Related Content:  Pitching,  Scouting,  Orioles,  Mechanics,  Kevin Gausman

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Skewed Left: Bring Bac... (05/30)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Raising Aces: Splittin... (05/24)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Raising Aces: Splittin... (05/31)
Next Article >>
Premium Article On the Beat: Unbearabl... (05/30)

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