He just signed a five-year, $110 million deal to pitch for the Jays’ exciting project, but he had to work hard to earn every penny.
A Talented Prospect
Gausman was already showing glimpses of his considerable talent while pitching at the Grandview High School in Centennial, Colorado.
He was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010, but didn’t sign and went to Louisiana State University instead.
He was a star for the LSU Tigers, and the Baltimore Orioles took him with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft.
He quickly positioned himself as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, but the Orioles haven’t exactly been known for their excellent pitching development in quite some time.
He reached High-A in 2012, the year he was drafted, and in 2013, he made it all the way to MLB, where he had a disappointing 5.66 ERA in 47.2 innings.
After making 11 starts at Triple-A in 2014, he received an opportunity in the majors and this time, he took advantage of it, by putting up a solid 3.57 ERA in 113.1 frames.
He had struck out just 6.99 hitters per nine innings (K/9), though, so everybody knew Gausman still had some potential to unlock.
In 2015 and 2016, he was good (4.25 and 3.61 ERAs, respectively), even better than what he did in 2014, because he started missing more bats (8.25 and 8.72 K/9, respectively).
He had a bad 4.68 ERA in 2017, but bounced back in 2018 (3.92 ERA in 183.2 innings).
During that 2018 season, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves in July, and they further strengthened the myth that pitchers get out of Baltimore to thrive: he had a 2.87 ERA in 59.2 innings there.
A shoulder injury suffered in spring training likely derailed his 2019 season.
He had a 6.19 ERA in 16 starts with the Braves before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds.
There, he was a reliever, and finished with a 4.03 ERA.
The Giants Were A Turning Point In His Career
The turning point in his career, however, was about to arrive.
He signed with the San Francisco Giants on a one-year deal before the 2020 season.
The Giants helped him achieve the highest K/9 of his career, 11.92, in 59.2 innings, coupled with a 3.62 ERA.
He was so good that the Giants made him a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer to return to San Francisco, and he took it.
For years, he used his fastball around 60 percent of the time but with San Francisco, the number decreased to around 50 percent, allowing him to throw his filthy splitter more.
Kevin Gausman just throws splitter after splitter and even the best hitters in the world have no chance pic.twitter.com/2QbCr4w5fJ
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 23, 2021
Basically, with San Francisco, he de-emphasized his inconsistent slider and improved his splitter, which resulted in more strikeouts, fewer home runs, and a lower ERA.
He is now virtually a two-pitch hurler but both of them, the four-seamer and the splitter, are very good.
He throws a changeup and the slider as change-of-pace pitches.
With that formula, Gausman had the best season of his career in 2021, with a 2.81 ERA in 192 innings, with 227 punchouts and a 1.04 WHIP.
While the Giants were interested in his services, the Blue Jays offered him the opportunity to earn a bit more money while still being part of a contending team.
— MLB Roster Moves (@MLBRostersMoves) December 1, 2021
He put pen to paper on a five-year deal and will be near the top of Toronto’s rotation for years to come.NEXT: 3 MLB Teams That Should Target Kenley Jansen