Waiver Worthy: Is The Returning Kevin Gausman A Must Own Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

According Roch Kubatko (via Twitter):

“Gausman likely to come off DL and start Monday at The Trop”

While we are generally cautious with pitchers in their first start off the DL, it’s fair to wonder if this could finally be the season that he realizes his full potential. No longer should we have the excuse of him being shuttled between Triple-A and the Majors… No longer should we have the excuse of him being bumped to the bullpen from time-to-time…

You can actually argue that Gausman is the best starting pitcher the Orioles have. Just look at the ERAs of the five starters entering play yesterday:

  • Ubaldo Jimenez – 3.71
  • Vance Worley – 5.06
  • Chris Tillman – 5.11
  • Yovani Gallardo – 5.63
  • Mike Wright – 5.73

It’s fair to wonder how the team was actually 9-4, though that’s a discussion for another day. Right now we have to ask what to expect from Gausman who posted a mixed bag during his rehab assignment:

The Good – 17 K over his last 9.0 IP (19 over 11.0 IP in total) as well as a 4.00 GO/AO

The Bad – 12 H and 5 BB, leading to a 1.55 WHIP

There likely was some poor luck in the hits and the strikeouts and groundballs give significant cause for hope. Over his minor league career he posted a 1.47 GO/AO, so there’s reason to believe it will be an asset. Of course his 42.8% mark in the Majors isn’t as promising, though rediscovering that ability would go a long way. Last season he threw his sinker just 5.66% of the time, as compared to 63.85% on his fourseam fastball, so in reality we shouldn’t expect a major change.

With a 2.63 BB/9 in the Majors (2.3 in the minors) and 7.90 K/9 in the Majors (9.4 in the minors), there’s little question that he can deliver in both categories. Last season he posted a 10.9% SwStr%, with a repertoire full of swing and miss stuff (20.00% Whiff% on his slider, 21.56% on his splitter). He also had a fourseam fastball that averaged 96.47 mph, so the swings and misses should continue to be there.

Maneuvering through the AL East and keeping the ball in the ballpark, especially in Baltimore, will be his biggest challenge. Of course he actually thrived at home in ’15 (2.19 ERA), while struggling on the road (6.10 ERA). That seems like an aberration, but if he can pitch well in Baltimore and improve his road numbers (.320 BABIP, 62.5% strand rate) there will be a lot of success.

There’s risk, but there’s also a lot of reward. He’s hardly a must start, at least not yet, but he’s worth owning in the majority of formats.

Fantasy Waiver Wire Guidelines:

  • 10 Team League – Monitor, but too shallow to grab
  • 12 Team League – Worth the claim
  • 14+ Team League – Must own
  • AL-Only League – Must own
  • Keeper/Dynasty – Must own

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Brooks Baseball, MLB.com, MILB.com

Make sure to check out all of Rotoprofessor’s Preseason Top 10 Prospect Lists:

AL East
AL Central
AL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *