Ten things to know about Kevin Gausman, the starting pitcher the Braves acquired from the Orioles at the trade deadline Tuesday:
1. He immediately gained a mind-boggling 41 ½ games in the standings. When the trade was made, the Orioles were 42 games out of first place in the AL East and the Braves ½ game out of first place in the NL East.
2. He should benefit from leaving the rugged AL East, land of the heavy-hitting Red Sox and Yankees.
3. He should benefit from having the Braves’ defense, rather than the Orioles’ porous defense, behind him.
4. FanGraphs described the right-handed Gausman’s repertoire thusly: “He doesn’t throw as hard as he used to, when he’d average 99 mph over full games at times, but he’s also been trying to take a few ticks off his pitches to try and improve his command. … He still has a mid-90s fastball that can touch something even higher than that, a slider, a splitter that can make hitters look helpless when he’s hitting his locations, and a slider of varying quality.”
5. Gausman’s salary this season is $5.6 million, meaning the Braves will owe him about $1.87 million for the next two months. He’s eligible for salary arbitration before next season. He’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season. (In an economically significant part of the deal for the Orioles, the Braves also assumed the approximately $3 million remaining on relief pitcher Darren O’Day’s contract this season and the $9 million O’Day is owed next season. O’Day will miss the rest of this season after having hamstring surgery earlier this month, but he could be a significant part of the Braves’ bullpen next year.)
6. The Orioles made Gausman, now 27, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft out of LSU, where he was a first-team All-American, and he first reached the big leagues during the 2013 season.
7. The word most often used to describe his big-league career thus far seems to be “inconsistent.” The Braves see him as an acquisition with considerable “upside.”
8. His numbers are lacking. He had a 39-51 record and 4.22 ERA in his career with the Orioles, including 5-8 (4.43 ERA) this season and 11-12 (4.68 ERA) last season. His best season was 2016, when he had a 3.61 ERA in 30 starts. In his big-league career, he has struck out 8.21 batters per nine innings and walked 2.71 batters per nine innings.
9. He worked an average of 183 innings each of the past two seasons. He already has worked 124 innings this season, more than anyone on Atlanta’s staff.
10. And here’s a tweet from Baseball America’s executive editor, assessing the four prospects the Braves gave up in the deal:
TODAY’S LEADOFF LINKS ...
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