Robert Gsellman has posted a 2.95 ERA over his last three starts. Decisions will have to be made soon with Steven Matz and Seth Lugo nearing return.
The New York Mets have a couple of decisions to make with their rotation. The returns of both Steven Matz and Seth Lugo are on the horizon. The question then becomes what winds up happening to Robert Gsellman once the duo of injured pitchers returns?
Jon Morosi mentioned the possibility of a six-man rotation that would give Gsellman a chance to still contribute in a starter’s role. It could also ease Matz and Lugo back in after both have missed a similar amount of time. You can read more analysis about it here.
Now, why should Gsellman stay in the rotation?
Gsellman has started to heat up ever since a rough start to the season. He’s moving his fastball around more and he’s returned to what made him successful at the end of 2016. Gsellman’s soft contact is up 11% over his last three starts in which he’s posted a 2.95 ERA. That’s all in stark contrast to his first seven starts where he posted a 7.27 ERA.
In his last start against Pittsburgh, Gsellman took what could have been a short night and still pitched into the sixth despite having thrown 60 pitches by the third inning.
Let’s look at the core breakdown first. We obviously know Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler will remain. Matt Harvey won’t get removed from the rotation despite his struggles. The Mets will probably want Matz and Lugo to stay on regular routines as starters rather than subject either to a heavily worked bullpen.
If the Mets were to stick to five, Gsellman (and Tyler Pill) would be shuffled with Pill heading either to the pen or back to Las Vegas. There is a doubleheader this coming Saturday against Atlanta so Gsellman will get at least one more turn. If he impresses again, then what? It may wind up not mattering no matter how well Gsellman does in his next trip to the hill.
Even if the six-man idea doesn’t materialize, Gsellman has proven he can still make an impact on the pen. We all remember his MLB debut came in relief against St. Louis and he fired 3.2 scoreless innings. The Mets don’t have a true long reliever in the pen and Gsellman could slide into that slot. This season, Gsellman has three relief appearances spanning four innings with one run allowed and four strikeouts.
However, the whole point is to have the options that can alleviate stress on the pen. With how Gsellman has been pitching lately, a move to the pen may be considered counter intuitive. His last three starts have encompassed 18.1 innings total.
At least the Mets have some options to choose from with the returns of Matz and Lugo imminent. Gsellman may realistically wind up falling victim to a numbers game even though he’s proven over the last few weeks that on merit he deserves to stay in the rotation.