Few schools have as solid of a track record with draft-eligible sophomores as Louisiana State University.
Micah Gibbs and D.J. LeMaheiu are just two of the many players who have come through the LSU baseball program who achieved the status, which is granted to any four-year college player who turns 21 years old within 45 days of the draft.
With a birthday of January, 6, 1991, right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman will be 21 years and five months (give or take a few days) when the 2012 draft takes place, making him eligible a year before most college players.
You would think that with such a big year ahead of him, one that could determine whether or not he achieves a higher draft spot than the sixth-round selection he garnered in 2010, Gausman would be looking forward to some extra R&R this summer.
You'd be thinking wrong of course.
Gausman is currently playing for the Harwich Mariners of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League, and after two starts he seems to be one of the top pitchers in the circuit. His most recent start saw him surrender his first earned run of the season. Still, he limited Falmouth to that one run over 6.1 strong innings, scattering seven hits and striking out four batters while walking just one.
Combine that with his previous start, in which he tossed 5.2 innings of scoreless ball, and Gausman is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA and eight strikeouts in 12 innings.
Unfortunately, Gausman won't be sticking around to see the end of the Cape Cod League season, as he's previously committed to pitch for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, which starts play on June 22nd.
Quite a busy "offseason" for a guy who is coming off his first full season of college ball, one that saw him earn Freshman of the Week honors in the SEC and narrowly miss out on All-Freshman honors.
The 6'4", 185-pound righty finished second in the SEC in opponent batting average (.215) and placed fourth in the league with 86 strikeouts. His win-loss record wasn't pretty (5-6), but he posted a decent ERA (3.51) in 14 starts. The highlight of his season came late in the season, in the form of a complete-game, seven-strikeout shutout against Tennessee.
After the game, LSU coach Paul Mainieri had this to say about the Colorado native:
"Kevin Gausman has the ability to be one of the elite pitchers in the SEC, and he demonstrated that tonight. He pounded the strike zone with his fastball, and he complemented it with a great change-up. He really controlled the game and was very efficient with his pitches."
You know Mainieri has to be pleased that Gausman set foot on campus after spurning a Dodgers offer after Gausman was selected out of Grandview High School in Centennial, Colorado in the sixth round of the 2010 draft.
Gausman caught Mainieri's (and the Dodgers) attention with a tremendous arm that can mass-produce 95 mph fastballs. And while his secondary stuff wasn't sharp, he had two things you can't teach: arm speed and velocity.
Most scouts felt that Gausman would have benefited greatly from heading to college and the results after one season seem to validate that claim. He has worked hard to sharpen his breaking stuff, including a changeup.
Working on developing that pitch, in addition to pitching in the toughest conference in college baseball, should help Gausman top his draft spot from last year.
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