ABERDEEN, Md. - In his second pro outing, Aberdeen IronBirds pitcher Kevin Gausman was very impressive today, so much so that the Orioles may even be thinking about altering the original plan, which was for Gausman to make all his starts this year at Aberdeen.
After seeing Gausman dominate in a three-inning outing today, it appears the O’s are open to the possibility of having Gausman pitch at a higher level, even though they want him limited to three-inning outings after he threw 124 innings this season at LSU.
Today, the O’s first-round pick pitched three scoreless innings for Aberdeen, allowing just one hit with no walks and three strikeouts on 30 pitches, 20 for strikes. Aberdeen manager Gary Allenson thought Gausman was squeezed on a few pitches, or his strike ratio may have been even better.
Orioles director of pitching development Rick Peterson watched intently from the dugout as Gausman buzzed through the Connecticut Tiger hitters here today.
“That was really special,” Peterson said outside the Aberdeen clubhouse. “When you see a guy that can pound the bottom of the strike zone, and he was even up a bit today at times, but that along with a swing and miss changeup, that’s a fast track. That’s a real fast track. The guys with fastball-changeups, they can fly through systems.
“He’s got great routines, he’s got great makeup. Everything about him is A-plus. He’s got an A-plus fastball and changeup. The changeup, especially, you’d much rather have a young pitcher come in with fastball-changeup than fastball-plus breaking ball.”
As for Gausman, he was pleased with his home debut.
“I felt good. I felt comfortable with all three of my pitches,” Gausman said. “I felt exactly as I did that first time at State College. My mechanics felt good and like I didn’t really miss a beat from college. That’s good when you have a little time off. It was fun. I’ve heard Ripken Stadium was fun and it was awesome just to get out there.”
Gausman had a very impressive fastball-changeup combination going today but is working to improve his slider and felt the few he threw this afternoon were of solid quality.
“My slider was real good. I only threw two but it was back-to-back and I got two strikes. That is really the biggest thing in my development is my slider. If I can be more consistent with it. I just didn’t throw it enough in college and really relied on my changeup (as my second pitch).”
Gausman said he is on board with the Orioles’ plan to limit his innings for this season.
“I understand that I’ve thrown a lot of innings. I just found out yesterday that I will go to instructs (instructional league in mid-September) after this. They are progressing me along slow, and I get it. I agree with it and really whatever they say goes,” the 21-year-old right hander said.
In a mild upset, Gausman said he didn’t eat any powdered donuts today between innings.
“I did in my first start,” he said. “Now it’s like just what I’m feeling that day. My last four starts at college I didn’t do it. The first two starts after I stopped doing, I threw back-to-back complete games and felt great. Our trainer at LSU said, ‘Really, you felt great after not eating donuts?’ Now, I guess I’m just doing it on feel. I wasn’t hungry, that was probably the biggest thing.”
He may not have been hungry, but he was determined. The O’s top pick has his career off to a good start with six impressive innings over two appearances at Aberdeen.