The Toronto Blue Jays are hoping the Colorado native and former Giants ace will have a better second half for their club during 2022 season than he did last year.
The Toronto Blue Jays management group have been very interested in Kevin Gausman since the 2019 offseason. They just haven’t been able to come to terms until this past winter when Gausman signed a five-year, 110 million dollar deal with the Blue Jays. Gausman has refined his mechanics and selection of pitches since his early days as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.
If you take a look at Gausman’s baseball savant page, it lists that he throws four pitches, a fastball, splitter, slider and a changeup. Part of Gausman’s first half 2021 success was the ability to locate his fastball. As per his 2021 stats, Gausman will throw the fastball 52.7% of the time, and this tells me he is using it to get ahead and set up the splitter which he throws 35.7% of the time. The changeup and slider were both thrown 6% of the time in 2021.
Gausman seemed to have some issues locating his fastball, as by the end of 2021 his OBP was .257. The numbers on the splitter were very good for the year with an OBP of .133. Gausman is a strike thrower, but the problem that he had, if we can call it that, is that his pitches seemed to catch too much of the plate. His batting average on balls in play was .352. , he had 20 walks to 94 strikeouts, and some days during the second half he just wasn’t able to get it done. Gausman only made it into the sixth inning in five of his second-half starts with the Giants.
Gausman will need to work with Pete Walker on his pitch execution to get the most out of his weapons. Can he take his two key pitches and make them more effective weapons? Locate the fastball to different parts of the plate? Can he continue to try and get that drop on his splitter? Will he have a dedicated personal catcher? Only time will tell.
What we do know is Gausman went 14-6 in 2021, being a Colorado native he understands what Roy Halladay means to him and the Toronto Blue Jays. I know that work ethic that Doc showed has inspired Gausman, as he will wear #34 in tribute to the Hall of Famer. If he can continue to work on expanding on making his two key pitches even better, the sky is the limit for Gausman and his second half issues won’t be a concern going forward.