We all have that person that we can’t let go of. Somehow, they always wind up back in our lives regardless of how they treated you. Whether they cheated, lied or did things to hurt you continuously, you keep going back to them.
This applies to Fantasy Baseball, too. There are players we stand behind even when they burn us. One of those players for me is Kevin Gausman.
That’s right, I am going back to the Orioles right-hander even after he let me down last season. Gausman showed promise in 2016 despite a 9-12 record. In 30 starts, he pitched 179.2 innings with a 3.61 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.72 K/9 and a 2.35 BB/9.
Last season, he didn’t take that step forward that I was expecting. He went 11-12, making 34 starts and pitching 186.2 innings. He had a 4.68 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 8.63 K/9 and a 3.42 BB/9. Once again, home runs were a problem as he had a 1.40 HR/9 for the second straight season.
Camden Yards is a difficult place to pitch and there haven’t been many successful pitchers for the Orioles in recent seasons. Gausman allowed 18 of his 29 home runs at home in 2017, but only 10 of the 28 he allowed came at home in 2016.
Gausman was a disaster in the first half last season. In 97 innings, he had a 5.85 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, 7.7 K/9 and a 3.99 BB/9. Hearts were shattered.
Then all of a sudden Gausman looked like the greatest looking woman in the room. The second half performance was what I envisioned when drafting him last season.
Gausman pitched 89.2 innings with a 3.41 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 9.64 K/9 and a 2.81 BB/9. The home runs were still a problem with a 1.51 HR/9. When players hit a valley, it’s important to watch how they respond. Gausman had a 6.60 ERA in the middle of June. From June 21 forward, his ERA was 3.39.
Gausman averages 95 miles per hour with his fastball and has a good splitter, but he brought back a slider in the middle of the season that was lethal and helped turn his season around. He also made a mechanical tweak as he squared himself more towards home plate. From June 21 to the end of the season, he allowed two earned runs or less in 12 of his 19 starts. Gausman isn’t being drafted as high as last season. He has an ADP of 201.08 on fantrax.com.
It’s easy to turn your back on Gausman. He has been inconsistent, but the changes he made in the middle of June paid dividends the rest of the way. The song “Give Me One More Chance,” by Biggie Smalls keeps playing in my head. Yes, I am giving Gausman another chance.