The Mets have gotten surprising contributions from two starting pitchers no one expected to be here
In a season that has gotten increasingly surreal, with a team that was left for dead earlier this summer now just a half game back of a playoff spot, Lugo and Gsellman have been the recent glue.
It was said in this space and by most before and during the season that behind the expected stalwarts in the rotation, the Mets didn’t have much help on the way from the minors.
However, Lugo and Gsellman — who were both pegged by scouts as back end of the rotation starters or bullpen pieces — have defied expectations.
Prior to joining the Mets, the 26-year-old Lugo posted a 6.50 ERA in the notoriously hitter-friendly PCL.
Since joining the Mets, Lugo has a 2.38 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 41.2 innings, including four starts.
Lugo’s strand rate (80.6 percent) is insanely high and his K rate (6.91 per 9) is quite low, so there should be regression expected. But he’s allowed just 30 hits while walking 11 in those 41.2 innings. That’s impressive.
While Lugo has been mostly in the low-90s with his fastball, he reached back for 97 MPH late in his last start. And his curveball has been insanely good at times.
Prior to joining the Mets, the 23-year-old Gsellman posted a 5.73 ERA and 1.48 WHIP for Las Vegas (again, in terrible pitching conditions) after posting a 2.71 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 66.1 innings for Double-A Binghamton.
Since joining the Mets, Gsellman has a 2.87 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 15.2 innings (two starts, one relief appearance).
Like Lugo, Gsellman has a really high strand rate (78.3 percent) and hasn’t struck out many (6.32 per 9). So regression should be expected here, too. But he’s flashed a solid four-pitch mix, including a fastball that has averaged 93.9 MPH.
The ideal scenario would be getting both deGrom and Matz back before the postseason (fingers crossed) and being able to roll out an October rotation with those two, Syndergaard, and Colon.
If that doesn’t happen, there will be some comfort turning to Lugo and/or Gsellman for some huge October starts.
Either way, with uncertainty next year surrounding at least Harvey and Wheeler, the Mets now know they have potentially solid reinforcements with Lugo and Gsellman.
For now, though, the focus is on the playoff push, which would likely not be happening without contributions from two guys no one expected to be here — let alone excelling.