Gausman finished 2021 with career-best numbers across the board, including a 2.81 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP, 5.3 Baseball-Reference WAR and a .609 opponents’ OPS. His fastball-splitter combo confused hitters for the bulk of the year, which helped him notch 227 strikeouts, the sixth-most in MLB. The question revolving around the righty is whether he can repeat that success into next season and beyond. Prior to last year, Gausman was a strictly league-average pitcher (100 ERA+) through eight seasons and nearly 1,000 innings split across four different teams. He also saw his 2021 ERA rise from 1.73 during the first half all the way up to 4.42 over the second half.
Gausman may never replicate his 2021 season, especially his sublime results prior to the All-Star break. But he seems to have found the repertoire that works best for him, and it’s one that is good enough to make him, at the very least, a mid-rotation innings-eater with significant strikeout upside moving forward. Those types of starters are in short supply right now.