Kevin Gausman was spectacular on the mound in 2023. Using that trademark splitter to make hitters look silly, he continued to impress Toronto fans who have seen his renaissance up close. Similar to other pitchers in this rotation, however, Gausman will be a free agent in the near future. What can we expect from the native Coloradan this season?
This is a pitcher who has found newfound heights since coming to San Francisco and Toronto. His stops in Baltimore, Cincinnati and Atlanta just don't come close to telling the current story of Gausman.
He racked up a career high 237 strikeouts in 33 starts last season. Gausman is making team history with these gaudy strikeout numbers. His strikeout, walk and home run numbers are all very healthy. Every other peripheral also seems to be either in line with league averages or his recent production.
At the same time, ZiPS sees his ERA rising to 3.46. His HardHit% rating is flirting with career highs and a few notches above MLB average. Similar to Alek Manoah, Gausman should do everything in his power to be a beneficiary of the Blue Jays' increased emphasis on run prevention. It's also worth nothing that this is a pitcher who experienced struggles around the All-Star break, a trend he was eventually able to reverse. In four outings during the month of July, he yielded nine earned runs over 23 innings. Unfortunately, that period served to allow those who don't believe in Gausman to come out of the woodwork.
Like it or not, Gausman will be toeing the slab at the top of this staff. Gausman has more than established himself in a Toronto uniform. Yes, there have been episodes of struggle in the past, but the current image shows a pitcher with supreme confidence and getting the recognition he deserves. One of the better free agent signings in Blue Jays history is almost expiring, and there are bigger moments that he and the team still want to experience together.