Baltimore Orioles select Kevin Gausman, RHP from LSU

Just minutes ago the Baltimore Orioles selected RHP Kevin "Goose" Gausman, a sophomore out of LSU with the 4th overall pick in the draft. Our James F did a player profile on Gausman last week and had this to say about Gausman:

Compared to the other candidates in the top of the round, Gausman is probably as safe of a pick as anyone but Florida catcher Mike Zunino. He has a long track record of holding the velocity on his plus fastball, setting himself apart from USF's Kyle Zimmer and the life on his fastball and his command of it is superior to that of Stanford's Mark Appel. The knock on Gausman is his mediocre curve, which doesn't have the projection of more than an average pitch and that limits his ceiling to that of a #2 starter. Some believe that Gausman might be better suited to throwing a slider, and the Orioles might very well have him change from a curve to a slider, but having to learn an entirely new breaking ball would certainly slow down Gausman's path to the majors.

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I do have reservations about Gausman being the Orioles selection. For a college product, he lacks a long track record of polished performance as a draft-eligible sophomore. And the lack of a third above-average pitch or a second truly plus pitch is also not what I what to see in a college arm this high in the draft. In a perfect world where Lucas Giolito is healthy, one of Giolito, Buxton and Appel should be available with the fourth pick, and all of them are higher on my own board than Gausman. I also think very highly of two prep bats that are expected to go in the top ten picks, Albert Almora and Carlos Correa, and personally favor their upside to Gausman's.

Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked Gausman as the 4th best prospect in the draft with this scouting report:

Coming out of Colorado as a high schooler, scouts liked Gausman's arm strength but an inconsistent spring and signability issues caused a slide until the sixth round, where Gausman reportedly turned down an above-slot offer from the Dodgers. Now he's back just two years later as a Draft-eligible sophomore.

Gausman still has the electric stuff, this time with a little more polish. He'll run his fastball up to 94 mph and he's still projectable given there's plenty of room on his frame to add strength. The heater has plenty of life to it and gets on hitters quickly thanks to a loose and easy delivery. His breaking ball has the chance to be an average offering and he now throws a changeup that fades and sinks and could be an above-average pitch.

The right-hander still struggles a bit with command, particularly with his breaking pitch and the delivery on his changeup doesn't always work. But with his size, mound presence and arm, he has all the makings of a frontline starter, one who shouldn't stay on Draft boards for very long if he has a productive sophomore season.

Welcome to Birdland, Kevin!

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