Welcome back to the bar.
Pull up a stool and let’s talk a little Kevin Gausman.
I keep wanting to write “Orioles top pitching prospect Kevin Gausman,” but that’s not the case because the currently injured Dylan Bundy holds that crown.
Gausman was No. 2 in Baseball America’s Orioles rankings this year, though this spring a lot of scouts and baseball people began flip-flopping the two. One scout said he’d throw himself off the stadium roof if Bundy had better stuff than Gausman.
Yeah, the kid could be that good.
But what we’ve seen so far is a guy with a major fastball who has elevated it and paid for it dearly. What we’ve seen is a 22-year-old with plenty of talent, but one that has had trouble with his secondary pitches and may not be ready to pitch in the big show after completely skipping Triple-A.
What we’ve seen is two games. A total of nine innings. An exceptionally small sample size.
My question is a simple one, and I understand it may be premature. If you were manager Buck Showalter, do you give Gausman another start up here or do you send him back down to the minors with nine innings of reference tape?
For the record, Showalter answered this question Tuesday night – without a fake beer in his hand and fake pretzels in front of him. Showalter said Gausman will be making his Camden Yards debut on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, baseball’s best hitting team.
The Tigers have defending AL MVP Miguel Cabrera and lead the majors in average, on-base percentage and runs scored, among other offensive categories.
That’s a rough matchup for a struggling pitcher of any age and experience level.
One alternative is to have someone make a spot start against the Tigers on Sunday – say Steve Johnson – and push Gausman back to Tuesday against the Astros in Houston.
Suddenly, he’d go from having to face one of the best offenses in baseball to one of the worst. There was a 37-point difference between the Tigers’ and Astros’ averages before Tuesday’s games. Showalter wasn’t entertaining that idea Tuesday night, though. Sunday, he said, is Gausman’s day.
So now this is your call. What would you do?
Daily Think Special: Do you give Kevin Gausman the start Sunday vs. Detroit?