The Orioles summon one of baseball's top pitching prospects to plug a hole in their rotation.
The Situation: The Orioles have dropped six of their last seven and now find themselves four games back in the AL East. Injury and underperformance in the starting rotation have already forced the Birds’ hand, with Freddy Garcia logging four underwhelming starts over the past three weeks. Rather than turning to T.J. McFarland or Jake Arrieta for Thursday’s start north of the border, Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter will turn the ball over to the no. 2 prospect in the Orioles’ system (and no. 13 prospect in baseball), Kevin Gausman, in an attempt to inject the rotation with some life, not to mention some electric stuff.
Background: Gausman was a sixth-round selection by the Dodgers out of Grandview High School (Aurora, CO), but he turned down first-round money in favor of two years at LSU, where he immediately made an impact, finishing eighth in the SEC in strikeouts, ninth in hits allowed, and fifth in batting average against. After a strong summer as part of USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, Gausman dominated the SEC as a sophomore, leading the conference in strikeouts and finishing third nationally while serving as the Tigers’ Friday night starter and earning All-American honors from multiple publications. He was the first pitcher selected in the 2012 draft, going fourth overall to the Baltimore Orioles, and he signed a $4.32 million dollar deal, $120,000 over slot allotment.
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Have any center fielders distinguished themselves as worthy of first-round selection?
One of the areas of strength in this draft class is high school center fielders; there’s a strong case for as many as seven or eight being selected in the first two rounds. The collegiate ranks are drastically thinner; the only two potential first-rounders are likely to end up elsewhere on the diamond. Because the prep ranks are so deep, there is excellent potential for a strong scouting department to identify good value in the third or fourth round.
With less than a month until draft day, which players are making names for themselves in the corner outfield market?
This year’s draft class offers an interesting blend of talent at the outfield corners, particularly at the prep ranks, where we find a dynamic cross-section of thumpers, pure hit tools, and a little of everything in between. At the collegiate ranks, some of the top talents include current infielders and center fielders that project better to a corner at the next level, with perhaps the best current corner outfielder in the class representing one of the biggest displays of helium over the past 12 months.
Who are the top prep arms to target in the upcoming draft?
Thus far in our series, we have focused on the first selection in this year’s shadow draft, which will include a selection for each of the Red Sox’ first 15 draft picks (for a refresher on the series, review the earlier Dissecting the Draft pieces). In our last installment, we set our preference list for Tier One, which consists of the talents we rate higher than the typical talent we’d expect to have available to us at our draft slot (seventh overall).
Who has improved their draft stock with strong spring showings?
The 2013 draft class is shy on impact middle infielders, particularly at the collegiate ranks, where our three profiled players each stand a fair chance of shifting to another position once they begin their pro careers. The high schoolers carry a little more depth but still plenty of questions, with only one player seeming to fit a true first-round profile.
When a team is drafting, how does it distinguish which talents might be the most reasonable targets?
With our first-round targets broken out into three tiers, per our last installment of the Dissecting the Draft series, we are ready to start breaking down our decision-making tree, starting with Tier One. As a recap, here is where our tiers currently stand for our first pick in the draft (seventh overall), in each case in alphabetical order:
Who are the can't-miss corner-infield prospects in the upcoming draft?
The corner-infield position at the major-league level generally places a high level of import on offensive production. That means draft prospects that project to a corner are often viewed first as bats, with a secondary consideration given to their projected level of defensive contributions. This year’s draft class includes a wide variety of corner-infield bats, including some loud tools and some equally loud question marks.