New York Mets should not use Robert Gsellman as the closer
By Jose Rivera
Even with Jeurys Familia out, the New York Mets should keep Robert Gsellman as a middle reliever, not the closer.
It has been very hard to find anything positive to say about the 2018 New York Mets bullpen. A season that had started off very strong has taken a dramatic turn for the worst and the relief corps for the Mets is front and center of that.
One bright spot, however, has been Robert Gsellman. With the closer Jeurys Familia landing on the DL, the idea of using Gsellman in that role has emerged. Despite the fact that he’s earned the trust to take on that role, the Mets should slow down when it comes to their young right-hander.
Robert Gsellman is arguably the most important piece of the New York Mets bullpen right now. With Familia out and AJ Ramos’ season up in the air, Gsellman does have to step up and keep having the success he is finding.
This year he is 5-1 with a 2.95 era in 30 games pitched. In 39.2 innings he has allowed 32 hits and 14 runs. He has allowed 17 walks but has also struck out 38 batters.
It’s a no-brainer. Gsellman should stay where he is in the bullpen.
Stats have shown in the past that once he faces the batting order a third time, teams start to figure him out. Gsellman is the most effective when facing batters once or twice at most, which is typically a hint at a relief pitcher.
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It also makes sense for his name to come up when it comes to brainstorming for a temporary closer. However, although his numbers have been solid there are some flaws to that plan.
He has allowed 32 hits in 39.2 innings pitched which is a little on the red flag side for most people. Averaging almost a hit allowed per inning would make you worry about the number of baserunners that would be on base in a 9th inning scenario. When thinking of the league’s best closers, you want someone who will come in and shut the door on any potential rally.
On the flip side, Gsellman has done exceptionally well in tight situations. When runners are in scoring position, Gsellman has struck out 10 batters and has held them to just a .171 batting average.
But the main reason why Gsellman should not be moved into the closer role is because of his versatility. He is so valuable because he can pitch multiple innings. Gsellman was not a terrible starting pitcher he is just more suited for the bullpen.
But some of the best weapons on top contending teams are relievers who can give you 6 outs or more. Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, Chris Devenski, and Chad Green (who single-handedly saved the New York Yankees in the AL wildcard game) are good examples of what Gsellman gives the New York Mets. Stability in the bullpen comes first, then your closer. If there’s no one to hold the lead to get to the 9th, then what’s the point of saving Gsellman for it.
There is no doubt Robert Gsellman would find success in the 9th inning. But people would rather see him continue to be the most valuable piece in the Mets bullpen overall.
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