In the beginning of February, we ran a poll here at the site on who should be the team’s fifth starter, assuming equal health and Spring Training results. The overwhelming choice among the three candidates was Robert Gsellman, who received 66% of the popular vote. Gsellman had great results when pressed into service late last year. And while it wasn’t a huge sample size, Gsellman did have strong peripherals, too. Here are our individual projections for him in 2017:
We all expect Gsellman to see significant action in 2017, although there is a wide range of opinion on exactly how much he’ll pitch. Rob and Mike K. believe he’ll throw between 100-107 innings, while John joins me in thinking he’ll reach 170. Ten of the 11 members of the panel forecast an ERA under four, while Charlie sees it squeaking under three. Joe, at 4.11, has the most bearish look and most teams would be quite happy to get that from their fifth starter.
Here’s our official group forecast:
Gsellman thrived in part last year because of an elevated strand rate. Overall, it was 81.3 percent while as a starting pitcher it was a 79.1 rate. We see him again being better than average in this department, but with a 74.5 rate, much closer to last year’s MLB average of 72.9 percent. Now let’s see what the computer models project for Gsellman:
We’re almost always the most optimistic forecast of the bunch and unsurprisingly, we’re even more optimistic than usual when it comes to a rookie. The computer models see nearly an identical ERA, nearly three-quarters of a run higher than what we project. Encouragingly, they also see him pitching a fair number of innings, with ZiPS forecasting 18 more innings than us.
The top comp for Gsellman from ZiPS is Steve Fireovid. Like Gsellman, Fireovid had great success in his MLB debut. But he never again got much of a shot in the majors, having a few more cups of coffee. Instead, he became one of the top minor league hurlers of his era and pitched well into his 30s. He even wrote a book about his experiences – “The 26th Man: One Minor League Pitcher’s Pursuit of a Dream.” Fireovid pitched 13 years in Triple-A, where he accumulated a 105-81 mark. Overall, he won 139 games in the minors and 142 as a professional.