Toronto Blue Jays Sign Kevin Gausman

by Trent Dickeson
Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Gausman

Before the lockout, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Kevin Gausman to a five-year deal worth $110M. Gausman will fill the void left by 2021 CY Young Award winner, Robbie Ray, who left for the Seattle Mariners.

Ray received a five-year $115M deal, only $5M more than Gausman, but the Blue Jays allowed the CY Young winner to walk. Do the Blue Jays not trust Ray to replicate 2021?

Read about the Robbie Ray deal here!

The Blue Jays finished 4th in the AL East but were 91-71 and only one game out of the Wild Card. With their young core, they believe their championship window is just now opening.

Gausman joins a rotation that includes Jose Berrios, Hyun Jin Ryu, and Alek Manoah. That figures to be one of the stronger rotations in the American League in 2022. Add in the offensive talent, and the Blue Jays figure to make noise next season.

Toronto Blue Jays Sign Kevin Gausman

Kevin Gausman Fantasy Preview

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2021 ADP: 137

2021: 2.81 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 3.28 xFIP, 1.04 WHIP, 227 K, 29.3% K%, 6.5% BB%, 145 ERA+

Career: 4.02 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 3.82 xFIP, 3.90 SIERA, 1.28 WHIP, 23.4% K%, 7.0% BB%, 105 ERA+

Gausman was always considered to be talented but had yet not put it all together. Until he got to San Francisco. When he arrived in the Bay area, something clicked, and he finally looked like a top of the rotation pitcher.

Before 2020, his career-high strikeout rate was 25.3%. In two seasons with the Giants, he had a strikeout rate of 32.2% and 29.3% respectfully. He was on pace for over 200 strikeouts in 2020, if it were a full season, and had 227 in 2021. Thought of as a groundball pitcher (42.9% groundball rate for his career), he has elevated his game as he elevated his strikeouts. He should see 200+ strikeouts again next season.

Gausman will be leaving a pitcher-friendly park, for one a hitter's park. Also, the AL East is filled with clubs that play their games in offensive havens. That could lead to an uptick in ERA, but peripherals do not suggest massive regression, so it should not be a big issue. Plus, the recent AL CY Young winner came from the Blue Jays, so do not worry about Gausman's numbers regressing too much.

A projection in the low 3s feel safe for Gausman.

The Blue Jays should win 90+ in 2022 and could make a deep run. Meaning Gausman could be in line for several wins.

He might jump into the top 100 of drafts, but Gausman could be a solid value in Fantasy Baseball in 2022.

Projection: 13-7, 3.15 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 211 K

Toronto Blue Jays Preview

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The Blue Jays rotation should be set 1-4. Berrios, Gausman, Ryu, and Manoah are a fantastic four, one that any team would love to have. The Blue Jays had the 2nd best offense by team wRC+ (113), could 2022 be the year the Blue Jays make a run?

The Blue Jays pitching was not bad by any means, but if they take another step forward, watch out. Blue Jays pitching ranks in 2021:

  • 3.91 ERA- 10th in MLB
  • 4.18 FIP- 15th
  • 4.06 xFIP- 9th
  • 14.6 pitching fWAR- 16th

A slightly above average staff and while they lose the CY Young winner, Gausman is not a step-down. They also get a full year of Berrios, and Manoah hopes to take a step forward in his second year.

The biggest issue is they play in a ridiculous division. The Tampa Bay Rays have been great for years and continue to find ways to be successful. They figure to be near the top of the AL East again in 2022.

The Yankees and Red Sox both finished one game better than the Blue Jays and occupied the two Wild Card spots in the American League. Reminder, the Jays won 91 games and missed the playoffs because they finished 4th in this division. They had more wins than eventual World Series champions, the Atlanta Braves (88).

Outside of the Baltimore Orioles, who are still a year or two away in their rebuild, it will be a tough road for the Blue Jays. They could make another big splash when the lockout ends, but they have plenty to overcome if they are to take the next step.

They should be exciting to watch, especially for Fantasy Baseball players.

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