Pittsburgh Pirates: 3 Starting Pitchers the Team Should Target

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Pittsburgh Pirates Target Gausman
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Kevin Gausman

Kevin Gausman would be a similar addition to what Joe Musgrove was when the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired him.  Musgrove came from Houston where he found himself being a lackluster starter that was eventually moved to the bullpen.  Now he is with the Pittsburgh Pirates and is showing why he was such a highly rated starting pitching prospect. Gausman is in the same boat and like Gray and Archer, a change of scenery could benefit him.

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Gausman was one as highly touted as any pitching prospect in baseball.  He was the number four overall pick in the 2012 draft and was consistently ranked as a top 40 prospect in all of baseball during his prospect years. Gausman came out of LSU with an advanced approach with his mechanics, a plus fastball and plus secondary pitches.

However, he has not been able to replicate that at the big league level.  While his fastball has averaged about 95 miles per hour in his big league career, he has also seen the baseball leave the ballpark too much with a 1.3 home runs per nine innings.  This year it has been even worse for him with a career-high of 1.5 home runs per nine innings and an ERA of 4.59.

However, Gausman does have some positives.  To go with a mid 90s fastball he also throws a sharp slider, a splitter, and changeup.  All his pitches are considered to be plus in terms of pure stuff.  He also shows strong command by only averaging 2.31 walks per nine innings pitched.

Also, in his career, he has averaged over 8 strikeouts per nine innings.  So what does Gausman need to do?  He needs to learn how to induce more ground balls.  What do the Pittsburgh Pirates specialize in teaching their pitchers?  How to throw a sinking fastball that will induce more ground balls, which also will cut down on Gausman’s main issue of giving up home runs. Also, once again, getting him out of the AL East could help also.

Gausman has two more years of control and could be had for a package of mid-level prospects.  With Baltimore looking to sell they could be motivated to move on from the struggling former top prospect.