The 6-foot-4, 185 pound right-hander from the Rocky Mountains had impressed scouts for a while after making the all-star circuit last year. This spring, however, he has gotten exposed a bit. Gausman's best skill is his fastball. It sits around 93 on his best days, touching 95 at times. He also throws a two-seamer around 88-90 MPH and controls both pitches well. It's his breaking stuff that needs a ton of work. For one, he can't control any of his offspeed stuff and none of those pitches stand out with the possibility of being plus down the road.
The other way he's gotten exposed this spring is that he's been hit hard. His velocity dropped down to around 90 MPH and batters have been able to sit on his fastball, which can flatten out. He has a big, wiry frame and looks athletic on the mound. His delivery doesn't have many moving parts and a high leg kick helps with repeatability. The only question is whether his other pitches will develop.
The minors is littered with guys who can throw hard and straight fastballs. They're also strewn with pitchers who don't have a second pitch. Right now, both those attributes fit Gausman. With his fastball, he could end up a long reliever type, using a two-seamer to get ground ball outs if it comes to that. Right now, though, there is more chance for a bust with him than anyone else we've profiled. What if the velocity drop is due to an injury?
You know who Gausman's delivery reminds me of? Roy Oswalt. Same leg kick, same straight back fall off to the first base side. Similar speed on the fastball. If he can develop a couple offspeed pitches (say, a splitter or refine his change), a No. 3 starter is definitely in his future. If he gets shocked by a spark plug? Pencil him in for a bulldozer someday, baby!
Will the Astros pick him? If so, where?
It all depends. The original reason Andy Seiler linked Gausman and the Astros is that he was one of the more projectable young arms in the draft class. A terrible spring has sent his draft stock plummeting. Now, few experts and scouts project that he'll go in the first round.
I'm not sure if the Astros brought him in for a private workout last Thursday. If they did, his stock is such that they can take him in the second or third rounds as a surprise pick. He can definitely still be there in the third round with his loss of velocity. Gausman will probably be better served going to LSU for three years and repairing his stock.
Where is he projected to go right now?
Keith Law does not have him in the first round.
Andy Seiler does not have him in the first round.
Deep Leagues has him at No. 47 in the supplemental first round to the Rockies.
Jonathan Mayo does not have him in the first round.
Perfect Game USA does not have him in the first round.
Baseball America does not have him in the first round.
Frankie Piliere does not have him in the first round.
Kevin Gausman does not have him in the first round.
John Sickels has him at No. 26 to the Rockies.
Bibliography (Scouting Reports and video)
Below the jump.
Lincoln Hamilton's take, ranked at No. 3:
Smooth athlete with great mechanics and big time stuff, fastball 93-94 w/ life, tons of upside
Gausman came into the spring with a chance to go in the first round, but he hasn't shown the same velocity he has in the past and has been lapped by several other prep right-handers. Gausman will work at 90-93 or 90-94 mph with his four-seamer and has shown a two-seamer in the upper 80s.
His main flaw is the lack of an effective second pitch, as he's thrown a curve, slider, and change without great success; he's been caught between the two breaking balls when I've seen him and the result is a below-average slurve. As a result, he's been hit hard this spring, which I'm guessing is because hitters can spot his below-average breaking stuff and sit on his fastball.
Gausman has one of the cleanest deliveries among prep pitchers in the class, with a high leg kick, a moderate stride, and a fluid, repeatable arm action. He's committed to LSU and could easily end up there if he's not drafted in the top 50 picks.