Gausman caps ace ’23 campaign with All-MLB nod

December 17th, 2023

TORONTO -- Add another accolade to ’s 2023 season.

The Blue Jays’ ace, who finished third in AL Cy Young Award voting, was named to the All-MLB Second Team presented by MGM Rewards on Saturday, taking his place among the game’s best pitchers.

Joining Gausman on the All-MLB Second Team staff are Sonny Gray, Nathan Eovaldi, Jordan Montgomery and Kyle Bradish. The First Team rotation includes Gerrit Cole, Zac Gallen, Shohei Ohtani and Spencer Strider. These All-MLB honors, established in 2019, recognize baseball’s best at each position, with fan voting counting for 50% and the other half coming from a panel of media, broadcasters, former players and officials.

Gausman has emerged as a legitimate staff ace in two seasons with the Blue Jays, posting a 3.16 ERA with 237 strikeouts over 185 innings in 2023. Along with José Berríos, Chris Bassitt and Yusei Kikuchi, the veteran rotation carried a very heavy load this season and did so admirably, all four deserving a better fate than Toronto’s quick exit in the Wild Card Series.

“When you look at everything he brings -- then all sorts of different metrics you look at for just what he does minus anything that happens behind him after the ball’s in play -- he’s one of the best in the game,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said late in the year. “I would take him any day of the week.”

On the mound, fans see the fiery version of Gausman, an intense competitor who has rounded off some of the sharp edges that made him a “hothead” earlier in his career. The moment Gausman steps off the field and in front of the cameras, he’s one of the game’s most laid-back and approachable stars, his teammates joking that he has no heartbeat at all.

That steady approach to the game and everything else that whirls around it has made Gausman one of the anchors of Toronto’s clubhouse. He’s in a unique spot now, being the ace of a staff with three years remaining on his five-year, $110 million deal, but also understanding life on the other side. 

“Everybody is going to go through ups and downs,” Gausman said recently on MLB Network. "I’m a prime example of that. I’ve been DFA’d before. I’ve been the best pitcher on the best team in baseball, I’ve been the worst pitcher on the worst team in baseball, and I’ve been everything in between. It helps to be able to talk to guys, and I think they can relate to me a little bit more than most of the aces or the ones and twos on teams who never went through that.”

The Blue Jays face uncertainties moving forward, particularly after their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani fell short and Juan Soto landed in the division with the Yankees. There’s work to do on the position-player side, but this rotation, led by Gausman, remains the foundation that everything else will stand on.