With the start of the minor league season on Thursday, we will be going full force into our in-season minor league coverage. Every Wednesday I will be writing about a prospect who has reached the AA level or higher that could be on your fantasy roster by season's end, and what you should know about them. Today's prospect was the #4 overall pick in last year's amateur draft, and had a great spring this year.
Weight: 190 lbs.
On 40-man roster: No
Age as of 4/2/13: 22
Gausman was a 6th round draft pick out of high school by the Dodgers back in 2010, but did not sign and opted to attend LSU instead. In his freshman season, Gausman went 5-6 with a 3.51 ERA and 86 strikeouts against 23 walks in 89 innings pitched. He rocketed up draft boards with his sophomore campaign, going 12-2 with a 2.77 ERA and 135 strikeouts against 28 walks in 123 innings pitched.
Gausman had a lot of leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore, but was viewed as one of the top ten players available on draft day. He was taken at #4 overall by the Orioles, and ended up signing for a $4.3 million bonus. He made five starts across short-season A and High-A, striking out 13 and walking just 1 batter in 15 innings pitched.
The Scouting Report - Scouting reports are gathered from other internet sources and written reports, unless otherwise noted.
Gausman features a plus fastball (sitting 91-95 during spring training, but expected to play as high up as 98), an excellent slider, and a plus changeup. I watched one of his outings during spring training, and he showed an easy, smooth delivery, and excellent control thus far as a professional. His frame points to being able to carry a heavy workload as a professional, although that will need to be built up this season.
What's Keeping Him From Contributing Now?
Realistically Gausman just needs to build up his endurance for the length of the season. There are minor things for him to work on, but it sounds like he could survive in the short-term in the Majors right now. He is not on the 40-man roster, which likely means that the team will not promote him to the Majors until they are sure he is ready to stay. He'll start his season at AA along with Dylan Bundy, and both could see a promotion to AAA by midseason if they pitch well.
What Could He Do For Fantasy Owners Once He Gets There?
Gausman profiles as at least a top 50 starting pitcher in the long term, providing excellent rate stats and an above-average strikeout total. There is potential for even more if everything works out perfectly, and seems most likely to settle in as a top 25 starting pitcher. We had Gausman as our #18 starting pitching prospect during the offseason, and that number seems a bit low at this point.
When Could He Arrive?
There has been discussion before that Gausman would not need much time in the minors, and he could see a promotion to the Majors at some point during this season. More likely, he will break camp with the Orioles to start the 2014 season.
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