Kevin Gausman: A Retrospective On Prospect Hype
Pull together bits and pieces from a variety of sources and it can be dangerous. A great example is Kevin Gausman. Here’s why.
- Some unmentioned source was quoted as saying Gausman > Bundy and it spread like wildfire.
- Gausman had a nasty changeup and the MILB.tv folks began making GIFs and spreading them around.
- Gausman posted a 49/5 K/BB ratio in Double-A so he had to be awesome, or so says the stat hounds
Stir it up and the result was so enticing, FanGraphs readers questioned me for not considering him for the top prospect in all of baseball. Readers drank the kool-aid like it was crack and believed he would set the world on fire once the Orioles called him up. 10 underwhelming appearances later and he’s back on Minor League buses. The writers who built him to be the next big thing are like, “Kevin who? I never said that!”
Others will point to it as an example of TINSTAAPP, but that’s nonsense. Gausman is a very good pitching prospects, the helium was too much, too fast.
This happens all the time. Every Matt Harvey makes us forget about Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Bauer, Kevin Gausman, etc. etc. And when a pitcher like Tony Cingrani exceeds expectations, the discussion becomes more about what’s wrong with a prospect than reasonable expectation.
Julio Teheran was put through a buzz saw last off-season after a disappointing year in Triple-A and back-to-back years of 5-plus ERA’s post call up. Prospect followers expected immediate impact. Age 20? 21? It doesn’t matter. Instant success is always going to be the expected or the player is a bust.
Of course Teheran has excelled this year, fulfilling much of the promise his believers expected. I hope you bought when others fell off the bandwagon.
Gausman and Teheran are physically very different, but their arsenal’s are similar at the same point in development. Before the Braves re-worked Teheran, he had a flat fastball he left up in the zone too often. His curveball was inconsistent and he relied on his changeup as a best off-speed pitch.
That’s Gausman in a nutshell.
This off-season, I’ll be looking to add Gausman on the cheap in keeper and dynasty league formats. Like Teheran, the Orioles right-hander has big stuff, but isn’t able to harness it in a way where it will be effective against Major League hitters.
Once he begins to set hitters up like a Major Leaguer, the results should follow — especially if Gausman is able to maximize his downward plane and keep the fastball down in the zone.
2 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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