Kevin Gausman was essentially the same exact pitcher in the 2015 and 2016 with a nine percent difference in strand rate accounting for the ERA drop. He also added 67 innings for a career-high 180. Despite a carbon copy final line, he improved in-season. His curveball went from being a disaster to a plus pitch in the final two months while his splitter went from plus to plus-plus. He wound up with a 2.83 ERA and 3.6 K:BB in 76.1 innings over those final two months. Homers have been a problem in three of his four seasons and he needs to keep the ball in the yard if he's going to cash in on the No. 2 starter upside of his stuff and skills. He did have a 1.1 HR/9 in that late season stretch, but that's only good in comparison to the 1.7 he had the first four months. Considering this was just his first full season and he's still only 26, we can grant him some leeway and still bet on the upside.
Gausman tossed three innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk while striking out three in Monday's exhibition game against the Phillies. Gausman tested out his full arsenal while throwing a spring-high 65 pitches. "It seemed like I went to a full count with just about everyone today," Gausman said. The right-hander added that he wasn't enthused with his overall performance, "Any time you throw that many pitches in three innings, you're not going to be happy." Gausman has started three preseason games -- including a WBC warmup contest against the Dominican Republic -- and has posted solid marks overall. Through eight total innings, the 26-year-old has surrendered two earned runs on four hits and two walks while tallying six punchouts. With Chris Tillman (shoulder) on the mend, Gausman is in line to make his first career Opening Day start April 3 at home against the Blue Jays.
Gausman dominated the Dominican Republic team Tuesday, tossing three scoreless innings and not allowing a hit while walking one and striking out one. Gausman was near perfect against the WBC-bound Dominican Republic team that boasts 25 MLB All-Star appearances among its players. The top of the visiting team's lineup read like a who's who of the game's brightest stars. Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, Gausman's own teammate Manny Machado, and Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano occupied the first three spots. The next three featured sluggers Jose Bautista, Carlos Santana, and Nelson Cruz -- who he struck out with a 96 mph fastball. Gausman is ascending into a top-flight pitcher and is expected to start for the O's on Opening Day (pending the health of Chris Tillman). Although Tuesday's game doesn't count toward Grapefruit League stats, Gausman has now pitched a total of five innings while allowing just one hit over two spring games.
Gausman is the favorite to start Opening Day with Chris Tillman ruled out, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports. With Chris Tillman ruled out for Opening Day with shoulder issues, Gausman has emerged as the frontrunner to takeover the job. The 26-year-old posted a 3.61 ERA with a 174:47 K:BB ratio across 179.2 innings (30 starts) with the Orioles last season.
Gausman and the Orioles agreed Sunday to a one-year, $3.45 million contract to avoid arbitration, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. With Gausman now under contract for 2017, he'll look to potentially make the move from mid-rotation cog to staff ace following an impressive 2016 campaign. The former top prospect was able to avoid the injuries and ever-changing roles that had stagnated his development in previous seasons, submitting a 3.61 ERA and 8.72 K/9 rate while making 30 starts for the big club. A full-on breakout hasn't materialized yet, but the 26-year-old's upside makes him a quality target in fantasy drafts.
Gausman, who is notorious for first-half struggles, began his offseason throwing program earlier than he has in previous years, Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reports. Gausman's ERA prior to last season's Midsummer Classic was more than a full run higher than his second-half number. After enduring a frustrating first half, he exploded into the discussion of the league's top young pitchers, posting a 3.10 ERA post All-Star break to end the year with a 3.61 mark. "I've always finished strong. So, for me, now it's kind of figuring out why that is," Gausman said.