Mets reliever Robert Gsellman: Where does he fit in with the bullpen plans?
By Tim Boyle
New York Mets reliever Robert Gsellman regressed in 2019. What role can he have in the 2020 bullpen?
Entering 2019, Robert Gsellman was looked at as a possible late-inning option for the New York Mets. He performed well in the role during the 2018 campaign albeit with some below-average numbers to finish off the year. Far too often, Gsellman imploded on the mound, rounding his ERA off to 4.28 for the year.
Unfortunately, the 2019 season may have ended prematurely due to injury with a worse 4.66 ERA. Still in his mid-20s, there’s reason to believe Gsellman has yet to reach his baseball peak.
Viewed by fans as a uniquely talented reliever who can go more than an inning on a regular basis, Gsellman’s magic wore down in 2019. Whether overused, wrongly used, or just not as talented as we once believed, it’s beginning to become clear that Gsellman isn’t an elite reliever.
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Now with a career 4.44 ERA in over 300 innings, he’s practically allowing a run every other inning. This isn’t good enough for a guy who pitches with his team ahead. This is all you can ask for from a guy who takes the mound when your team is behind or ahead by a large margin.
It’s too early to give up on Gsellman entirely. He did raise his strikeout totals to 8.5 per nine this year. His walk numbers remained consistent with the past three seasons at 3.3 per nine frames.
While higher than desirable, free passes aren’t his main issue. Gsellman allows too many hits and only a part of this can be blamed on bad Mets defense.
For what it’s worth, Gsellman had a 3.95 FIP in 2018 and a 4.13 FIP in 2019. In other words, he has been a little unlucky. Those FIP numbers aren’t fantastic enough to put all of the blame on the gloves behind him.
The Mets bullpen has been an issue for several seasons. Even as a few pitchers have found their groove later on in 2019, few of us trust these men in the later innings. Gsellman, if he had managed to stay healthy, would have been another one of those guys.
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Gsellman’s place in the team’s bullpen will likely remain somewhere in the middle of the pack with performance determining how he is used. Every scenario from pitching in the eighth inning to coming into the game to stop the bleeding in the fourth is possible. Still unproven in many ways, Gsellman’s role with the Mets deserves a TBD.