In case you missed it, Kevin Gausman will make his major league debut tonight in Toronto.
I’m kidding, of course. Gausman will face the Blue Jays, but nobody has missed it. That’s pretty much all that fans and the media can talk/write about.
I spoke with a scout from outside the organization who watched Gausman in spring training and at Double-A Bowie. His first words were, “I think he’s ready.”
Actually, his first words were “Hello, Roch,” but you get the idea.
“I don’t think he’s quite what he’s going to be,” the scout said. “I think he has the potential to be a legitimate star. For now, I think he’ll compete and hold his own. I don’t expect him to do what Matt Harvey is doing right now, but I’ve got a feeling that if everything works out, he could be that kind of guy.
“They probably would have liked to keep him in Double-A a little longer, but it hasn’t worked out because of the rotation. And he’s clearly their best option right now.”
Gausman’s fastball and changeup are exceptional, major league-ready pitches. The Orioles wanted him to work on his slider as a third out pitch, which he’s done at Bowie.
“His slider was great,” the scout said. “Consistently sharper. There were times when it was a plus-plus pitch. Guys were swinging and missing. It was better than what I saw in spring training. He had a great changeup and fastball, and his breaking ball was just there. But that wasn’t the case this time. It’s come a long way in a very short amount of time. It can be a third plus-plus pitch for him.”
Most observers are confident that Gausman will handle the pressure tonight, just as he’s handled everything else - with a slight grin that makes him appear boyish until he takes the mound, where he’s all business.
“From what I understand talking to coaches, he’s a loose kid, but he’s very serious on the mound,” the scout said. “He doesn’t let things get to him, though he wasn’t in a whole lot of trouble. He’s a very good kid, a hard-worker and a good athlete. He’s everything you want.”
If you follow the Baysox on Twitter (@BowieBaysox), you’ve noticed that they’ve been tweeting a Gausman fun-fact at the top of every hour. Here’s a sampling:
* “In Gausman’s last 4 GS he allowed 5 runs total, only 1 scored on a hit, a HR on 5/5, other 4 runs scored on 2 sac flies, WP and a groundout”
* “Gausman 8 AA 46.1 IP 49 K 5 BB Strasburg 1st 8 AA/AAA 40.2 IP 49 K 9 BB Kershaw 1st 8 AA 36.2 IP 40 K 11 BB Mussina 7 AA 42.1 IP 40 K 7 BB”
* “Gausman’s KK/BB ratio of 9.80/1 is better than every starter in the AL and all but Wainwright (11.50/1) in majors”
* “Gausman 61.1 IP will start a game faster than any O’s 1st round pick, Ben McDonald (also LSU) and Gregg Olson got there quicker in relief.”
* “Gausman threw nearly 70% strikes in his eight starts in Bowie, 717 pitches, 496 strikes”