Blue Jays MVP Rankings: Making a case for Gausman
theScore is making a case for players who have the best chance of becoming the Toronto Blue Jays' 2022 MVP. On Thursday, we examine Kevin Gausman's candidacy.
Gausman has been everything the Blue Jays envisioned he would be when they signed him to a five-year, $110-million contract in the offseason to replace reigning Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. The right-hander owns the best FIP out of any qualified starter in the majors and has amassed the highest fWAR for an AL pitcher. The 31-year-old's splitter is one of MLB's best pitches, contributing to his outstanding 10.5 K/9. He's already recorded four double-digit strikeout games, and he started the campaign without surrendering a walk in five consecutive starts. He's also only allowed six homers all season over 117 2/3 innings.
Before two excellent starts against the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins to begin August, the 2021 All-Star appeared to be slowing down. He saw his ERA climb by a full run from the end of May to the end of July. Gausman's issues seemed connected to tipping pitches, which helped opposing clubs focus on his fastball instead of the splitter. The biggest knock against the veteran hurler's case to be the team MVP is that he might not even be the best pitcher in the rotation. Alek Manoah has a better ERA and WHIP, logged more innings, and was named an All-Star ahead of Gausman.
The reigning AL Player of the Week has been a rock for the rotation all season. However, it's tough to give a pitcher the team MVP award when he might not be the best hurler on the squad. Plus, Gausman only pitches every fifth day, which allows a position player to have a greater impact. For these reasons, he's ranked No. 2 for the Blue Jays.