Kevin Gausman - SP, BAL
Drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Gausman reached the majors in a hurry, making his big-league debut less than 12 months after being selected by the Orioles. His rookie campaign -- split between the rotation and bullpen -- wasn't great on the surface. The 22-year-old righty finished at 3-5 with a 5.66 ERA over 20 appearances for Baltimore.
However, the bloated ERA belied some very impressive peripherals. In 47 innings, Gausman notched 49 strikeouts with only 13 walks. His fastball averaged 96 MPH and he complemented it with quality secondary pitches. Gausman was a bit unlucky on balls in play and gave up too many homers, but otherwise his performance was mostly encouraging.
This year, the right-hander has had to wait his turn due to the Orioles' starting pitching depth at the big-league level. He's done his part by pitching brilliantly in Triple-A (2.98 ERA, 9.4 K/9 in 10 starts) and has excelled during a few spot starts, but a full-time rotation spot as proven elusive. He was sent back to the minors over the weekend despite putting up a 0.95 ERA in three starts during his latest stint.
The demotion was mostly procedural and will be a short one. Gausman is set to be recalled to pitch in a double-header against the weak-hitting Rays on Friday, and it's tough to imagine he'll be optioned again afterward if he performs. He has simply been pitching too well to be banished to the minor leagues, especially when you consider that he's a key long-term piece for the O's.
Baltimore's rotation has been remarkably healthy this year and no one has really pitched poorly enough to merit removal, but Gausman's development is among the most important considerations for this club and he doesn't have much to prove in Triple-A. It will be interesting to see how the Orioles handle him, but in the meantime he's worth picking up, because if he sticks around his upside is massive.
Jesse Hahn - SP, SD
It's only been three starts, but the numbers Hahn has put up for the Padres this year have been pretty incredible. In three turns, he's 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 16 2/3 innings. The righty has allowed only 12 hits.
A sixth-round draft pick of the Rays in 2010, Hahn came over to the Padres in an offseason trade that sent Alex Torres to Tampa. Hahn has been excellent throughout the minors, with a 2.32 ERA and 155-to-47 K/BB ratio in 159 total innings, and he was sporting a 2.11 ERA in Double-A this season before being called up to replace Tim Stauffer in the San Diego rotation.
Stauffer will likely remain in the bullpen, so Hahn has a chance to entrench himself with continued success.
In his three starts with the Padres this season, Hahn has struck out 27 percent of the batters he's faced and has induced grounders at a 58 percent clip. Those marks would both rank among the major-league leaders, and while he's unlikely to sustain such proclivity over the long haul, you've got to be encouraged by what he's doing. Getting strikeouts and ground balls are two of the most important things a pitcher can do to succeed, and those are two areas where Hahn has proven quite effective both in the majors and minors.
When you account for the fact that half of his starts are going to be coming at Petco Park, Hahn looks like a very appealing pickup right now.