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The present and future of Kevin Gausman

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Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Let's talk about Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles. The 24 year old right-hander is well-past rookie status with 227 career big league innings over parts of three seasons. The Orioles finally seem committed to him as a member of the starting rotation. He's no longer a prospect in the classic sense of course, and will soon be established enough that he won't be a big topic of discussion for prospect followers.

But we aren't quite at that point yet, so let's discuss his present and his future.

There is a general sense that Gausman hasn't reached his full potential. His ERAs hover a bit below league average and he'll have some games where he gets blown up. He also has games where he dominates, his FIPs are better than the ERAs, and even at his current level he is an above-average pitcher overall if you believe in fWAR.
He has 227 career innings as noted, a full season in classic terms, resulting in a 3.4 fWAR (.4 in '13, 2.1 in '14, .9 this year). That's pretty good for a 24-year-old pitcher two years out of college.

Pretty good, but not terrific.

Can Gausman become terrific, or will he hover around prettygoodness most of his career but never make the full leap?

Personally I am a huge Gausman fan and see him with true number one starter, Roy Halladay-like potential. But I have been biased in his favor since he was in high school, so I may not be objective. What do you guys think? What does he need to do to take a big step forward?

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