We Still Don’t Know What Gsellman Is
Last year, Robert Gsellman started the year in Binghamton, and he would find himself starting important games in September as the Mets pushed towards a Wild Card. In eight games (seven starts), Gsellman was 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA, 1.276 WHIP, and an 8.5 K/9. During that run, Gsellman had seemingly emerged as the Mets newest potential ace in what was already a star studded rotation. Due to his emergence and injuries to the Mets pitchers, Gsellman joined the Opening Day rotation to give him a chance to take the next step.
Gsellman didn’t take that step forward he was expected to take. In fact, he took a giant step backwards.
In his 21 games (18 starts), Gsellman has been 6-6 with a 5.44 ERA, 1.567 WHIP, and a 6.2 K/9. But it’s more than just the numbers. Gsellman has regressed in every aspect of his game.
According to Brooks Baseball, Gsellman was predominantly a sinker/slider pitcher throwing about a 95 MPH fastball and an 89 MPH slider. He’s still the same sinker/slider pitcher, but now his fastball velocity has dipped to just under 94 MPH. It may not seem like much, but there has been a tangible effect with batters hitting him harder and more frequently.
Now, you could blame some of this on the Mets defense, which has been terrible this year. However, it should be pointed out Gsellman had gone from a .336 BABIP against last year to a .319 BABIP this year. So while the Mets defense has been terrible, it’s not the whole reason for Gsellman’s struggles.
There’s also the matter of his frustrations. Things have not gone well for him since the beginning of the year. His first start was a five inning outing where he allowed three runs on six hits. He followed that with a 4.2 inning effort where he allowed eight runs (four earned) off eight hits. Things got worse from there before they got better, if things every truly got better.
Gsellman would strain his hamstring covering first base during his June 28th start. He left the Mets unimpressed during his rehab appearances causing General Manager Sandy Alderson to say Gsellman would stay in Double-A until he pitched better. When the information was relayed to Gsellman, he infamously responded, “I don’t really care.”
It’s hard to believe Gsellman didn’t care. Likely, this was more a result of his frustrations from a disappointing and difficult season boiling over. Certainly, he has pitched better of late. Better, but not where he was last season.
Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. We’ve seen him be great, and we’ve seen him pitch terribly. Maybe he’s not the pitcher he was last year. Maybe he’s not the pitcher he is this year. He could be better. He could be even worse.
Fact is, this is a 23 year old pitcher who has a long career ahead of him. What his career will be is anyone’s guess. That could be top of the rotation starter to bullpen arm. No one can confidently say what that will be. In the end, it will all matter how he responds to this difficult season.