2016 team: New York Mets/Las Vegas 51s/Binghamton Mets
2016 MILB Stats: 20 G, 4-9 W/L, 3.99 ERA, 20 GS, 115 IP, 113 H, 58 R, 51 ER, 31 BB, 88 K, 1.25 WHIP (between Triple-A Las Vegas and Double-A Binghamton)
2016 MLB Stats: 8 G, 4-2 W/L, 2.42 ERA, 7 GS, 44.2 IP, 42 H, 12 R, 12 ER, 15 BB, 42 K, 1.27 WHIP
Robert burst onto the Major League scene like a gazelle out of necessity from injuries to the Mets rotation pieces.
The Mets 13th round pick in 2011 out of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, California put himself on everyone’s radar with a great 2016 campaign that included signing during his major league time.
Gsellman fits in with the rest of the Mets current starting pitchers who are all very good athletes, he was a two-sport star in high school. He was team captain on the basketball team his senior year and they also won back-to-back State Championships. He can also swing the bat too, during his junior year he hit .649 with eight home runs in just 81 at bats. You can see his athleticism on the mound as well where he is a good fielder and has a quick pick-off move to first base.
The Jacob deGrom look-alike had a fine season in 2015 when he went 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 143.1 innings between the St. Lucie and Binghamton Mets. Despite the success there were still some questions of future potential mostly in part due to his unimpressive 5.4 K/9.
Prior to 2016, the big strengths for Gsellman were his abilities to get ground balls (61% for St. Lucie & 54% for Binghamton in 2015) and keeping the ball in the park (0.4 HR/9 in MiLB career). Both of them stayed true in his big league debut too. He posted a 57% ground ball rate (would have been 2nd among ML qualified starters) and only gave up one home run in 44.2 innings.
The Mets promoted Gsellman when Steven Matz landed on the disabled list on August 22 and intended to use him out of the bullpen. His first big league action came the next day when Jon Niese retired only one batter before departing against the St. Louis Cardinals. Gsellman would pitch 3.2 scoreless innings while earning himself a start.
Gsellman would then find himself in the rotation making seven starts with a 2.63 ERA and 8.8 K/9. That last number (albeit in small sample size) is a big reason why the long-term outlook has improved for Gsellman from being a 4/5th starter to a possible middle of the rotation guy.
Why where his strikeouts up? Gsellman averaged 94.6 MPH on his fastball and maxed out at 97. Prior to 2016, he was someone that sat in the 91-93 range while topping out at 95.
The other reason the boost in strikeouts is the refinement of his slider which was really just his third pitch coming into 2016. Gsellman credits Binghamton pitching coach Glenn Abbott with helping the transformation of his now strong slider. He threw the pitch 145 times in the majors according to FanGraphs and held opponents to a .460 OPS.
Gsellman’s minor league experience surely helped him jump right into the fire last season, and succeed in his role. Given that, he won’t be subjected to the growing pains in 2017, should his number be called again. As Mike noted above, he’s come a long way in terms of his makeup, and his ability to keep the ball in the park was crucial. He’s the only starter in Mets history to allow one home run or fewer in 40 or more innings pitched, in one season.
Spring Training should reveal, among other things, whether Zack Wheeler is given a spot in the rotation from the get go, or if Gsellman has earned the fifth starter job.
I’m sure the Mets will get a ton of calls on Gsellman this offseason, but Sandy would be smart to hold onto him as insurance with a large portion of the rotation coming off surgery. Gsellman is a good bet to be in the Mets rotation at some point for the aforementioned reason. Sandy also also mentioned using Gsellman out of the major league bullpen.
2017 MMN Top 100 Prospects