1. San Francisco Giants RHP Kevin Gausman
In what has been a roller coaster of a career, Kevin Gausman has figured things out in San Francisco across the last two seasons. Gausman inked a one-year, $9 million for 2020 and subsequently accepted the qualifying offer to return to the Giants this season.
Gausman got his career off and running with Baltimore and posted standard, inning-eater numbers. In each season from 2016-2019, though, Gausman averaged over a hit per inning with Baltimore, Atlanta, and Cincinnati before knocking that number down in the Bay.
He’s been excellent in 2021; a four-pitch mix with a 2.81 ERA across 33 starts. 227 strikeouts across 192 innings and a walk rate of 2.3–right around where he’s been the majority of his career. Gausman is in the 92nd percentile in chase rate and each secondary offering is near or above a 40 percent whiff rate. That combination of strike-throwing and whiffs is rare in the game and Gausman should be coveted in the offseason.
In terms of fit, it’s unmistakable he would make the Detroit Tigers better. A Gausman, Mize, Skubal rotation front would border on playoff-caliber while effectively replacing
production last season. Gausman will be 31 before Opening Day next season, though, making contract length a possible point of contention.
Additionally, MLB.com’s Maria Guardado reported in February that Gausman had an interest in a long-term deal with San Francisco, which could also muddy the negotiation waters. Gausman pitching in the postseason on the cusp of an NLCS appearance would undoubtedly do wonders for their chances of bringing the starter back.