The Atlanta Braves acquired the 27-year old Kevin Gausman from the Baltimore Orioles earlier this week in exchange for four prospects and international slot money, making the Braves rotation even stronger. Gausman struggled to really live up to expectations at Camden Yards after being drafted fourth overall by the Orioles in 2012 even though he has electric stuff.
He soared through the minor leagues extremely quickly, making his big league debut in 2013. Despite that, he never became the ace that Baltimore hoped for. Gausman holds a career 39 and 51 record with a 4.22 ERA. Injuries and inconsistency are a big reason the Orioles shipped him off to the Braves, but he could find himself in Atlanta.
Kevin Gausman Could Reach His Full Potential In Atlanta
Gausman has always had good stuff, highlighted by a mid 90s fastball that he can ramp up to the high 90s and a hard slider. He also mixes in a splitter and a changeup from time to time. Despite pitching in a very hitter-friendly AL East, Gausman has always had very impressive strikeout to walk numbers. He holds a career 8.2 K’s per nine innings, while also walking just 2.7 hitters per nine innings. Command has never been the issue for Gausman. He’s always been able to consistently throw strikes, he’s just gotten hit around quite a bit throughout his major league career.
If we look at someone like Jake Arrieta, he resurrected his career when he left Baltimore, winning a Cy Young in 2015 with the Chicago Cubs. The Orioles don’t have a very good history of developing pitchers, so getting out of Baltimore is a positive for Gausman. New pitching coaches, a whole new league and division, and different surroundings. Gausman was a first round pick for a reason, he has the talent to be a great big league starter. this new start could be exactly what he needs.
He has so much potential at just twenty-seven years old and could turn into a number one or two starter in Atlanta’s rotation in the future. Pitching in the NL East will be a huge change for Gausman, but I believe it will be a good change. He won’t see sluggers on a daily basis like he would see in the American League East. Obviously, he’s still facing big leaguers that can flat out hit, but it will just be a little bit different for Gausman when he’s not facing the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees every second week.
How will he fit into the rotation?
Atlanta is playing some outstanding baseball right now as they sit just half a game back from the Philadelphia Phillies for first place in the NL East. A big part of their success is the consistency of their young and talented rotation. Mike Foltynewicz, Anibal Sanchez, Sean Newcomb, and Julio Teheran have all been pitching extremely well this year for Atlanta. Other young arms like Max Fried and Mike Soroka have filled the void in the fifth spot in the rotation when need be. But with Gausman in Atlanta now, he will fit right in as another quality starter. Their whole rotation has young, electric arms mixed with some experience in Teheran and Sanchez.
This addition to the Braves was an absolute must as they were really in need of another starter who could eat up some innings.
For Gausman, I really think this is a great opportunity to blossom and really hit his full potential. The hard-throwing righty is healthy, young, and has all the makings of a quality big league starter.
I really think he just needs to let it go and let his fastball speak for itself. At times, he worries too much about command then gets hit around when he takes his foot off the pedal and throws a low 90s heater. If he uses his fastball to its true potential in the high 90s, I believe he will have a lot more success along with a very good splitter and slider. There aren’t a lot of guys who can catch up to a high 90s fastball that’s painted on the corners.
It will be interesting to see if Gausman can tap into his true capability in a Braves uniform.
Embed from Getty Images