BLUF: Drool-worthy frame and fastball potential, but more raw than many college pitchers.
The Player: Kevin Gausman (RHP, Louisiana State University) – Draft-eligible sophomore without as much leverage as past years because of the new CBA. Superb start to 2012 season, posting a 2.27 ERA through seven starts. Sits with a 5-0 record backed by 13 walks and 62 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. Started 14 games in 2011, posting just a 5-6 record and 3.51 ERA. Allowed 70 hits in 89 2/3 innings, giving up 23 walks and striking out 86 batters. Sixth round pick of the Dodgers in 2010.
Basis of Report: Personal Observation (2011 Cape Cod League), Industry Contacts
Body (6-4, 190): Extremely long and lean. Very long legs, shorter torso and long arms. Moderate shoulder width with some taper to the waist. Plenty of room for additional strength/mass as he matures. Good athlete, well-coordinated, runs well.
Delivery/Mechanics: Very quick delivery. Doesn’t waste any time. Lots leg movement throughout that can distract hitter. Drops the ball straight down his back leg before starting arm sweep. Length to sweep because of long arms, but has good arm speed. Keeps his arm with his body well. Tendency to lean too far back as he drives toward the plate, putting his shoulders on an uphill plane and causing him to lose the strike zone at times. Good extension on the follow through. Falls to first base frequently.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 97, Low – 90, Average – 92-93, Grade – 60/70
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 96, Low 91, Average 92-93, Grade – 60/70
Fastball (FB) Movement: Consistently shows plus movement, despite varied arm slots. Shows good sink when he’s up top more, and gets some swing back to the arm side when he gets to the low-3/4 area. Grade – 60/60
Overall Fastball: Very good FB with room for continued improvement. Plus velo now with potential for plus-plus with added strength/mass on his long frame. Good movement and shows good angle to the plate at times. Needs to use his height better to maintain plane to the plate. Potentially dominating pitch. Grade – 60/70
Curveball (CB): Flashes average with good 12-6 to 11-5 break. Generally shows tight spin but doesn’t always finish the pitch on the follow through, leaving it up in the zone and lacking hard bite. Some problems stem from inconsistent arm slots. Potential average breaking pitch. May need to decide between CB and SL to focus on refining one. Grade – 30/40
Slider (SL): Works better than CB with his natural arm angle. My preference for his long term breaking ball. Shows good two-plane break with more vertical than horizontal movement. Showed improved control of the SL last summer. Potential swing-and-miss pitch with tight spin and good depth. Grade – 40/50
Change-up (CH): Excellent arm speed and deception. Looks like FB all the way. Gets some sink on the ball and really trusts his grip to do the work for him. Rarely gets too firm with it. Potential second plus pitch to back up FB. Grade – 50/60
Control: Loses the zone at times. Can struggle with mechanical consistency. Works up too often and loses angle to the plate, making FB more hittable than it should be. Throws strikes with CH and SL. Frequently struggles with control of CB. Good enough athlete and the arm works well enough that he should throw more strikes as he gains experience. Grade – 40/60
Command: Needs improved mechanical consistency for control, let alone command. Needs to work down the plane of the mound more to allow him better access to both sides of the plate. Won’t ever have pinpoint accuracy but has a chance for fringe-average command of FB and CH if everything clicks. Grade – 30/40
Summation: Fastball-heavy guy with the ability to miss bats with his number one. Shows good feel for CH. Would like to see him focus on SL and scrap the CB for now. Professional instruction should help improve his mechanics and refine his control. Command could take a while as he better controls his long limbs after mechanical tweaks. Smart kid that works hard. Hasn’t really showed ability to work hitters and work through a lineup with pitch selection and sequencing. Will need to learn that as a pro. Potential mid-rotation starter that tantalizes with plus-plus FB and great frame. May never be quite as good as you think he should be.
Relative Risk: High. Pretty raw for a college product. Will need some developmental time in the minor leagues and has enough command concerns to warrant a higher risk level.
Draft Projection: Fastball and size should push him into the upper-third of the first round.