Reporting Kevin Battle
The Orioles added to their repertoire of talented young pitchers yesterday, by drafting 21- year-old Kevin Gausman out of Louisiana State University. Gary Rajsich, the Director of Scouting under Dan Duquette, joined the Norris and Davis Show this morning to offer insight as to why the Orioles picked Gausman.
“Well he was one of the two or three power pitchers in the draft, he was very successful, he’s got a power arsenal, and I think he can help our major league club in the very near future.”
Listen to entire interview here:
Rajsich said that he personally likes to draft starting pitchers because unlike relief pitchers, who can be hidden and used for certain match ups, starters have to face the line up two or three times. Of the 700 players researched and targeted by the Orioles, Rajsich said Gausman brings maturity and experience that reaches far beyond throwing for power.
“He commands his fastball, he’s a strike thrower, he’s not afraid, he attacks hitters, he’s got a 5 pitch mix that he can control swings of hitters, and he’s matured a lot in college. The last two years he’s pitched in front of big crowds, he’s pitched in the most important conference, the SEC, in front of 8-10,000 people every night, so he’s battle-tested.”
While the Orioles were sold on Gausman’s commanding change up that dictates bat speed, Rajsich said that the right-handed pitcher still needs to learn consistency with his curveball, which he started throwing this year, along with his “above-average” slider. This mix of off-speed pitches will lead to a lot of ground balls and less fly balls; a pitcher’s recipe that even ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst Harold Reynolds thinks is a perfect fit for Camden Yards.
Gausman will still get workouts in this year, as LSU is in the hunt for a College World Series title. He can then start getting reps in the Orioles’ minor league system, and Rajsich is hopeful that Gausman will be in Baltimore sooner than later.
“Next year, if he could arrive in Baltimore, give us some innings, that’d be a big shot in the arm.”
The drafting of Gausman comes one year after the Orioles snagged top baseball prospect Dylan Bundy with the fourth overall pick in 2011. Steve Davis asked Gary Rajsich, who worked with guys like Roy Halliday when he worked with the Blue Jays, if he had ever seen someone as young as Bundy be as good as he is.
“No I have not. He’s very special I had the chance to watch two innings down in a B-game in spring training this year and he’s everything that people are talking about.”
From the eyes of a scout, the Orioles’ pitching future appears to be nothing but promising.
Written by Intern Dave Andrews.