Prospect rankings primer
Last year's Orioles list
The Top Ten
1. Kevin Gausman
Height/Weight: 6’3” 190 lbs
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA)
Previous Ranking: #2 (Org), #13 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: 5.66 ERA (47.2 IP, 51 H, 49 K, 13 BB) at major-league level, 4.04 ERA (35.2 IP, 36 H, 33 K, 9 BB) at Triple-A Norfolk, 3.11 ERA (46.1 IP, 44 H, 49 K, 5 BB) at Double-A Bowie
The Tools: 7 FB; 7 potential CH; 6 potential SL
What Happened in 2013: Gausman was on the professional rollercoaster in 2013, making stops in Double-A, Triple-A, and several trips to the majors.
Strengths: Elite arm strength; good delivery; repeats well; fastball works 95-98; touches 100; good arm-side life; good command; total package pitch; multiple changeup looks; plus-plus offering in the 84-86 range with splitter movement; knockout pitch to both LH/RH; slider shows above-average potential; good overall feel for strike throwing.
Weaknesses: Fastball can be visible; some crossfire in delivery; struggles with hard contact when he elevates; slider comes and goes; shows sharp tilt and good depth but can flatten out and become a hard slurve; pitchability still needs work.
Overall Future Potential: 7; no. 2 starter
Realistic Role: High 6; no. 2/3 starter
Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; ready for major leagues
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Projection be damned, Gausman is staring down a rotation spot to start the 2014 season. And don’t let those 2013 MLB raw stats fool you, he had a 3.99 FIP (and 3.04 xFIP, if you’re into that sort of thing). He’ll always be at a slight disadvantage pitching in Baltimore, but this is a pitcher who can make very strong contributions in all four categories regardless—and, at his ceiling, projects to be a guy you can get away with as your fantasy ace if you have a strong staff.
The Year Ahead: Gausman is a beast, with a near elite fastball, a plus-plus changeup, and the makings of a plus slider. If the command stays sharp and the slider takes a step forward (in confidence and consistency), Gausman has all the necessary ingredients to be a frontline starter. The stuff can be a little visible, and he’s hittable when he throws too many strikes and not enough good strikes (control vs. command), but the floor is obnoxiously high, and the ceiling suggests he could be on the better arms in baseball very soon.
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