Hello and happy Wednesday.
Kevin Gausman was sensational for the San Francisco Giants in 2020. And yet when he signed with the team, he specifically mentioned that he wanted the learning experience that would come from pitching to and with Buster Posey, who opted out of the season. And when the year concluded, he praised the Giants coaching staff for helping him improve his game.
On the one hand, logic would dictate that a 30 year old pitcher coming off the best year of their career probably isn’t going to get better. On the other hand, he’ll actually get to work with Posey this year, and he’ll get a second season of working with the coaching staff — this time under slightly more normal conditions.
So can he take another leap, from high quality starter to ace?
Spring Training performance should be taken with a three-pound box of Diamond Crystal kosher salt (which they sell at Costco and I highly recommend), but the reports from Scottsdale all seem to point towards Gausman improving on his career year, rather than regressing from it.
Just look at some of the feedback from teammates and coaches:
Kapler on Gausman: "It's not often you see a guy execute his pitches on Day 1 like Kevin did today. ... He didn't throw his split. He was able to do that without his best weapon."— Mark W. Sanchez (@MarkWSanchez) February 23, 2021
Alex Dickerson and Evan Longoria have raved about Gausman after facing him. "He looked unbelievable," Dickerson said. "If he has any more in the tank than that, it's crazy." Longo said he was at 97.— Mark W. Sanchez (@MarkWSanchez) February 23, 2021
And just for good measure, some video:
Kevin Gausman goes with the fastball above the hands to get Alex Dickerson swinging and missing. pic.twitter.com/ugPrhEcD0k— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) February 23, 2021
A repeat of his 2020 performance, over a 162-game season, would be a big win for the Giants. But can Gausman do one better?
Old, random MCC article for you to read
Barry Bonds is officially the Marlins’ hitting coach, so how do Giants fans react? (Dec. 4, 2015 — Grant Brisbee)
- Grant Brisbee on the best and worst of Shun Yamaguchi (The Athletic, subscription required)
- Maria Guardado on Kevin Gausman’s impressive camp, and Evan Longoria’s excitement for fans (MLB)
- Susan Slusser’s camp observations include Mauricio Dubón being smooth, and Tyler Beede being on the mend (SF Chronicle)
- Kerry Crowley’s notes from camp feature Tommy La Stella making other people’s jobs easier (Mercury News)
- Alex Pavlovic on how the Giants are anticipating a boost from having fans (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Andrew Baggarly on how Scott Kazmir is looking to reinvent himself one more time (The Athletic, subscription required)
- Alex Pavlovic on how Sam Long is impressing (NBC Sports Bay Area)
How many days until Opening Day?
There are 36 days until Opening Day. So few. And yet ... so many.
Have a wonderful Wednesday, friends.