Mets still wondering what they have with Robert Gsellman

In late 2016, pitching injuries pushed a previously unknown right-handed pitcher named Robert Gsellman into the rotation. The 22-year-old sported long hair, tattoos, a biting slider and a fearless attitude on the mound. In eight appearances, including seven starts, he was a revelation, pitching to a 2.42 ERA and a 2.63 FIP.

The following season, Gsellman was earmarked for the bullpen, but injuries again thrust him into the rotation for 22 starts, only the slider stopped biting and the good-but-not great fastball became hittable. Gsellman turned in a disappointing first full season in the big leagues with his ERA and FIP numbers nearly doubling.

In 2018, the Mets rotation stayed healthy and Gsellman was able to spend the entire year in the bullpen where he appeared in 68 games. He initially struggled to adjust, before hitting a groove as a reliable setup man. After the Mets fell out of contention and moved closer Jeurys Familia in a mid-season trade, Gsellman took over ninth inning duties with mixed results. In hindsight, he was no worse than the former All-Star closing for us now, but that’s not saying much.

This season, with a fairly healthy rotation and a beefed up bullpen (at least on paper) Gsellman was set to be a swing man – sometimes pitching long relief or setting up, but typically in the lower leverage middle innings. However, injuries and ineffectiveness of the primary relievers have resulted in inconsistent usage for the right handed.

At times, he’s been used four days in a row or not at all for several days. He’s pitched to just one batter or multiple innings. Maybe he’s not that dynamic and has struggled to get comfortable this year with such an undefined role. Perhaps, like the rest of the Mets pitchers heMs struggled with a bad framing catcher and a porous defense behind him. Or maybe that old slider continues to elude him.

Whatever the case, Gsellman has been very hittable this season with a 5.09 ERA in 46 innings over 39 appearances. His strikeouts are up, but so are his walks and hits. He hasn’t been the worst reliever on the team – Jeurys Familia holds that distinction by a long shot- but he’s not been as reliable as the team was hoping.

He’s still just 25 and under team control, but, at this point, it’s fair to ask, what is Gsellman? He doesn’t hold much trade value. As the Mets play out the string on what appears to be a lost season it would help to figure out if this kid has a future in the team’s bullpen and how we could best utilize him.

4 comments for “Mets still wondering what they have with Robert Gsellman

  1. Mike Walczak
    July 12, 2019 at 11:17 am

    Relief pitchers are flaky. One year they are great, the next year they are horrid.

    The question is with the Mets, is if you get rid of player A, who do you replace him with? Usually the answer is that there is no good replacement. There should be good competition in the minors to get a coveted roster spot.

    What the Mets could us is a good manager who manages the bullpen better and a good pitching coach who can help Gsellman, Syndergaard, Familia, Diaz and more.

    So, since he is not worth much on the market and we have no better replacement, it looks like he should stay put.

    • Rob
      July 12, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. Seems like talent is there but coaching is not. Same can be said for Confoto. The player development Nd coaching in this system from top to bottom needs overhaul.

  2. Pete fro NJ
    July 12, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    As you were writing this piece, searching for the final conclusion the “it’s fair to ask, what is Gsellman? He doesn’t hold much trade value.”

    Boy is that true. I’m sure the organization says that every day plus the fans especially on this page sure had high hopes for the guy.

    So yes he stays and I would really hate to see the guy gain success wearing another’s uniform. ie. Hansell Robles anyone?

  3. Peter Hyatt
    July 12, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Brodie Van Wagenen: “Jeff (Wilpon) gives a tremendous amount of autonomy to each of us that runs these divisions. We form consensus among our group and then we bring him our recommendations and he’s been incredibly supportive of that. I think our organization works well.”

    Now we know.

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