Kevin Gausman, the LSU pitcher drafted fourth overall by the Orioles tonight, has heard scouting reports that call him quirky. He doesn't dispute that notion.
"My quirkiness, well, I've always been a little weird, really," the 20-year-old right-hander said. "You know I like sci-fi movies. I eat four donuts in between every inning. So you know, that's a little weird. It is something I started back in middle school, so I've been doing that for a while now. The way I live my life, I like to be a little different than other people,"
On a more serious matter, Gausman has heard criticism of his breaking pitches also in those scouting reports on him.
"I think I definitely have it in there. I really just started throwing a true curveball this season. So, I haven't had much time to develop it," he said. "My slider has been a good pitch for me lately. That is another breaking pitch I have in my arsenal. Some days I really feel comfortable with it and other days I have to work to find it.
"I think my development as a pitcher and going forward is going to kind of depend on that. I'll be a fastball-changeup guy my entire career, but what is going to make the biggest difference is which breaking pitch I will decide to throw and which will be my bread and butter, and which one I may do away with."
The guy at LSU working with him on all his pitches has been Tigers pitching coach Alan Dunn, a former Orioles bullpen coach and minor league pitching coordinator.
"A.D., he really came in here and hit the ground running with all the guys on our pitching staff. I have a great relationship with him and he definitely had something to do with this. His background with the Orioles is good and no one has a bad word to say about him," Gausman said.
"It has been huge for me coming here (to LSU) and I couldn't imagine being in the minor leagues at 19. I was pretty immature and didn't know anything about pitching and didn't have a pitching coach. Coming here and playing two years in the SEC, I think the best conference in all of baseball, has been huge for me. Every Friday night, we get about 9,000 here and it's pretty crazy. I've matured leaps and bounds since high school, not just on the mound, but as a person and in every aspect of my life."
Gausman has heard his name linked to the Orioles for a while now but he said he still wasn't sure which team would call his name tonight when the draft began.
"This day has kind of been a roller coaster. I didn't sleep very much last night and woke up this morning and didn't know what to think. I really didn't know what was going to happen. It was a little weird to sit back and watch. I was kind of shocked that I was taken by Baltimore. Obviously I'm very honored," he said.
"The last (LSU) pitcher taken this high was Ben McDonald and he was an Oriole, so that is something I am excited about. I've met Ben before and he has great things to say about Baltimore. I keep hearing about the crabs, so I'm excited about that.
"With (Stanford pitcher Mark) Appel falling and everyone saying that he was the best pitcher, I obviously expected him to go before me. I'm just really honored they decided to pick me and see where this goes."
Gausman was asked about signing with the Orioles and if he feels he will pitch in the minors for the club this summer at some point. Gausman has thrown 115 2/3 innings so far and LSU is in the NCAA Super Regionals this weekend. If the Tigers win that best-of-three series, they will advance to the College World Series.
"It kind of depends on how I feel and how many (more) innings I throw. I could end up throwing another 25, maybe even 30 innings. It kind of depends on that. I've been going at it for about two years straight and that has something to do with it. We'll sit down and figure that out in the later months," Gausman said.
"I feel confident (about signing). They feel strongly about me or they would not have picked me. I think they will get a deal done and I feel confident about it. I'm truly honored to be selected by Baltimore, an organization that is so well known and has been around baseball so long."
Note about the minors: As I mentioned in an earlier entry, Norfolk catcher Luis Exposito, who was with the Orioles less than two weeks ago, suffered a broken hamate bone today and will be out four or more weeks for the Tides.
I have learned that the Orioles will send catcher Caleb Joseph from Double-A Bowie to Norfolk to take his roster spot there and that Brian Ward, whose 50-game suspension ended over the weekend, will be going to Bowie.