The need for Robert Gsellman to take a leap in 2020 is far more urgent than Conforto. In the three years since his rookie campaign in 2016, Gsellman has not looked the same.
Gsellman had a good run for a portion of 2018, but some bad outings late in the year lifted his ERA up to 4.28. He was worse in 2019, finishing with a 4.66 ERA for the season.
Now viewed as one of the lesser arms in the bullpen, it’s essential Gsellman takes more than a few steps forward in his career. More than anything, this is for his own sake.
Gsellman is still young enough to potentially move back to the rotation someday. He was successful in this role in 2016. Unfortunately, like just about everyone else who stepped on the mound for the Mets in 2017, he got battered around.
The Mets have opted to proceed with veteran starters as opposed to younger guys like Gsellman. At 26, he’s no longer “a kid.” Let’s not forget, Jacob deGrom made his MLB debut only a month before he blew out 26 candles.
Rather than hope Gsellman returns to the rotation one day, I would love to see him become a more effective reliever. He has been pretty consistent throughout his MLB career as far as walks and strikeouts go. Gsellman’s career 1.39 WHIP is a big problem and a major factor why he’ll enter 2020 with a lifetime 4.44 ERA.
This year is an opportunity for Gsellman to grow and learn. He’ll have veterans around him in the bullpen, bumping him into a lesser role. Unlike the past two years when he was counted on for much more, this season could be a time to focus on taking a few steps back before getting a running start to leap forward.