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The development of Kevin Gausman

Updated: June 2, 2012, 10:59 AM ET
By Buster Olney

It was the summer after Kevin Gausman's senior year in high school, long before he became arguably the best pitching prospect in this year's draft, and the right-hander decided to pitch in a California summer league.

Almost all of the hitters he would face were already collegians, and Gausman walked the first hitter he faced.

The second batter singled.

The third batter singled.

The fourth batter mashed a grand slam.

"I was like, 'Welcome to college baseball,'" Gausman recalled, chuckling over the phone on Friday.

But from that and other experiences, Gausman felt like he has learned what he needed to know, and the pitcher -- from LSU -- will hear his name called Monday, in the first moments of the draft. Maybe the Astros will pick him with the No. 1 pick overall, or maybe he'll go second or third or fourth or fifth. "We didn't bother watching him much this year," said an evaluator with a team that picks in the second half of the first round, "because we know he won't get to us."

Gausman has progressed dramatically, from a raw pitcher from Colorado into a dominant force in the Southeastern Conference. "I just kind of threw [in high school]," Gausman said. "I didn't know how to pitch. I didn't know what pitching was."

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