• Jun

    Gausman's demotion might not be for long, but he still needs more development

    The Orioles optioned Kevin Gausman after last night's start against the Red Sox despite pitching fairly effectively for five innings. This move appears to be more of a roster crunch situation and the fact that Miguel Gonzalez will most likely be going on maternity leave which would allow Gausman to make his next start anyways.

    Gausman was better last night, but he is still making mistakes in the middle of the plate and the slider is well below-average, and that's being nice. His changeup was very good last night with tremendous late fade and he was able to locate his fastball most of the time, which is of course a good sign. Unfortunately, he really is just a two-pitch pitcher right now and it's pretty clear the second time through the order batters start having better at bats against him.

    From the 4th-6th inning, batters are hitting .422/.460/.933/1.393 with 6 home runs in 51 PAs. That's a home run every 8.5 batters he faces from the 4th inning on. In case you were wondering, that's not very good.

    He appears to lose location more often from the 4th inning on and batters tend to hit him very hard the second time through the order. A lot of this has to do with location, but in my mind, it also has to do with the fact that he doesn't have an effective breaking pitch. No matter how good a fastball-changeup combo is, a pitcher can only be so effective with two good pitches.

    Perhaps Gausman is the best the Orioles have right now to fill out the rotation (though I tend to think Zach Britton would do better), but in my mind, that's more because of the failures of Jake Arrieta and ineffectiveness/injury of Jair Jurrjens, than any statement on his readiness.

    Until he can effectively throw his slider, his ceiling will be limited no matter how good his fastball-changeup combination currently are. He's a five inning pitcher right now in the major leagues due to his ineffectiveness after the 3rd inning. To me the slider is the key to improving that.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.