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Farm Report: O’s prospect Kevin Gausman building case for call-up

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Baltimore RHP prospect Kevin Gausman (USAT Images)

Back in the off-season, when everyone published their 2013 prospect lists, Dylan Bundy was the Baltimore pitcher who received the most buzz, by far. Bundy was rated as the game's No. 2 overall prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com, behind only Jurickson Profar, and No. 4 by Baseball Prospectus. He's a huge talent, no doubt.

Bundy has yet to throw a pitch this season, however, as he's been sidelined with elbow discomfort. He received a platelet rich plasma injection in late-April and he'll be shelved until June. He won't help fantasy owners anytime soon.

But the O's have another young right-hander in the system, well-regarded by scouts, putting up impressive numbers in the high minors. Kevin Gausman entered the season not far behind Bundy in the prospect ranks — No. 26 at BA, 36 at MLB, 13 at BP — and he's off to a terrific start at Double-A Bowie. He was brilliant in his most recent start at Trenton on Friday, pitching 6.0 innings, allowing four hits and one run, recording 10 Ks. For the season, the 22-year-old has a WHIP of 1.06, an ERA of 3.11, and he's whiffed 49 batters in 46.1 innings while issuing only five walks.

Over Gausman's last five starts, his ratios are obscene: 1.78 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9.20 K/9, 6.20 K/BB.

Interested? If you're involved in a moderately deep league, you should be.

Gausman features a high-90s fastball, a slider, and a change that earns glowing reviews. He was the No. 4 pick in the 2012 MLB Draft out of LSU, and it wouldn't be much of a surprise if he made a splash in the second-half with the O's.

Just check the tape...

There's a lot to like here. Gausman is more than your standard-issue hard-thrower. In the clip above, note the Wiffle-quality movement of the off-speed stuff.

We have no reason to believe a Gausman call-up is imminent, but the O's apparently won't require a stop at Triple-A before he joins the big league club.

This from the Baltimore Sun:

“What did we do with Manny Machado last year?” [Dan] Duquette said, referencing how Machado joined the Orioles from Double-A in August. “Where did he go? Double-A is the real proving ground. … I like to see players do well at Double-A and get a foundation so that when that they do come to the big leagues they can succeed. The proving ground is Double-A.

“Triple-A is a good experience because there are more experience players there, so that’s a good development,” Duquette said. “But the real proving ground is Double-A.”

I've had Gausman stashed on my A.L. Tout roster for a few weeks, but I haven't yet added him in a mixer. It's almost that time. Let's just see how the upcoming starts go. The leap from the Eastern League to the A.L. East is no small thing, obviously, so I don't want to over-promise. It's certainly possible that Gausman will get called up in June, then get blasted by the Jays and Yankees, then reach an innings-limit in August. There are no guarantees here.

Still, the kid has been lights-out in recent appearances, and, long-term, he projects as a top-of-rotation starter. File away the name, gamers.

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