Kevin Gausman has been both elite and pedestrian this season. While that can be frustrating, Gausman has shown all of the tools that made him a consensus top prospect in baseball.
Discuss Gausman’s 2014 season and his role in the postseason rotation on the BSL forum here.
In 89.1 IP this season Gausman has posted a 3.93 ERA, certainly respectable for a young pitcher in his age 23 season. It’s not the kind of dominating performance that Matt Harvey or Jose Fernandez has instilled in our minds as the standard for young pitchers, but it’s actually pretty darn good. On top of that, his 3.42 FIP suggests that he’s been even better than his ERA suggests.
It seems to me that many O’s fans are more down on Gausman than maybe they should be. Why? Well he’s had some pretty disastrous games, which may taint our view of him. He also hasn’t looked completely dominant either, posting just a 6.65 K/9 this season, much lower than many O’s fans expected.
Above is a chart of Gausman’s of the number of starts Gausman has made where he gave up a given number of earned runs. Gausman has made 16 starts this season, eight of which have seen him give up 2 ER or less. The other eight starts saw him give up 3 ER or more. Now obviously it’s a bit arbitrary picking 2 ER as the point where we break down the numbers, but it is a decent proxy for good starts versus average or poor ones.
The sample sizes are too small here to draw any big conclusions, especially if we wanted to dive deeper into the numbers to look at trends across groups of starts. That said, let’s see if Gausman has been consistent at all:
As you can see, it’s not like Gausman has consistently improved over the season, or that he had a specific rough stretch. Rather he seems to bounce back and forth from good start to bad start.
This isn’t necessarily good or bad, it just is. Obviously it’d be best if Gausman consistently delivered quality starts, but for a guy with roughly a 4 ERA, that isn’t highly likely. What is good though is that Gausman is living up to his potential of being a very good starting pitcher. He just happens to have some rough starts in between, like most young pitchers. Gausman has shown that his upside is very very high. He’s just rough around the edges still.
Kevin Gausman is actually pretty darn good, he’s just consistently inconsistent. Personally I believe that Gausman should be included in the postseason rotation. He has arguably the highest ceiling of any pitcher on the O’s roster, and that high ceiling could shine through in the pressure of the postseason. If he struggles however, well you’d have the depth in the bullpen in a short series to cover multiple innings if need be. He’s arguably been one of the O’s best starters, and gives the club a good chance to win any game he starts. He also hasn’t had a true blow up game, as he’s maxed out at 5 ER in any given start this season. Part of that can be attributed to a quick hook by Buck, but also to his ability to pitch through adversity.
Gausman in the playoffs is a gamble, but he’s one that the O’s should probably take come October/November.