All This, “Kevin Gausman To The Bullpen,” Talk Really Chaps My Ass

Sports and Bets — March 26, 2015 at 11:46 pm by

The Sun is reporting it, Buck is hinting at it, and Brittany Ghiroli is tweeting it:

  Not cool, Orioles.  Sure, Buck Showalter is a career baseball genius and I’m just some husky, middle aged blogger, but even I know that Kevin Gausman should be in the Orioles’ rotation when the Birds break camp in three weeks. Putting Gausman in the pen at this point in his career is pointless and I hope this is just some sort of motivational speak from Buck.

Until everything shakes out, I want him to be ready to do both things,” Showalter said of Gausman……There’s a possibility [to go to the bullpen] for everybody,” Showalter said. “Really all options open right now. We’ve got some time to make decisions, dealing from some quality right now. I don’t worry about it a lot because we’re picking from a number of people we like. As opposed to last man standing.”

As anybody who follows the Orioles with any zeal knows, Kevin Gausman is a fastball/change-up pitcher.  (With a fastball that averaged 94.8 MPH in 2014, he should be.)  The knock on Gausman is his slider. He’s been trying to develop a more effective one since he became a pro with the Birds. (Every starter need that third pitch.)  Last season, his slider usage tanked in July, but as the season wore on, he used the pitch a lot more.  That indicates that Gausman’s, and the Orioles’, confidence in his slider hit an all time low mid-season.  But as the season grinded on, it seems he worked on the pitch, and it improved, and ergo his confidence in the pitch rose.  I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that as Kevin threw the slider more, and as it improved, so did Gausman’s ERA. (It was 2.87 in September.) 2014 Percentage of Pitches Thrown (The chart’s a tad small, the red line is the slider usage.) Brooksbaseball-Chart

Even now, in Spring Training, the Orioles have put Gausman to work on his slider, and that is what they should be doing; but relegating him to the bullpen once the season starts will just stunt his continued development of that pitch and his overall game.  If Gausman has the slider working, then he is damn talented enough to be in the starting rotation for the Birds come Opening Day.  And if the slider isn’t working up to the organization’s standards, then Gausman should be sent to Norfolk to work on his slider every fifth day. Period.  The bullpen doesn’t allow him the innings or the scheduled opportunities to improve or develop his all important third pitch.


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