There was a lot of optimism for the New York Mets heading into the 2018 season and spots in the rotation were very limited. We all knew four of the spots would be taken, but who was going to be the fifth? With Jason Vargas out with a hand injury, the Mets decided Zack Wheeler would be the last man in the rotation, and that left Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo to be bullpen arms. Gsellman is one of those bullpen arms that is helping and off to a great start posting a 2.19 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched. So far, the Mets rank 11th in overall team ERA, and a lot has to be attributed to the strong bullpen. With Gsellman now a multi-innings reliever, he could be this year’s Brad Peacock. Let’s dive into the numbers and compare the two.
Here we are looking at last season’s numbers and the bar has been set high. Peacock posted a 3.00 ERA in 132 innings pitched. He started 21 out of the 34 games played and was extremely effective. The analytics show it was no fluke with the FIP very close to the ERA. Gsellman, on the other hand, had a year to forget, but he did pitch 119.2 innings with the Mets and 18.1 innings in the minors. He may not reach the innings pitched that Peacock did, but what we can take away from this is he can play the innings if any of the starters go down. Now let’s look at how these two are pitching this season.
Gsellman has the better ERA in a bit more innings pitched. He also has a better K/9, a better ground ball percentage, and has yet to allow a home run. Nothing seems out of the ordinary for Peacock. Maybe the ground ball rate is a little bit low, but he has a better BB/9 and a horrible HR/FB percentage that will regress. Next let’s see what their plate discipline is looking like.
Peacock is allowing less contact than Gsellman, but he’s also allowing less contact than he did last season while getting more swinging strikes. He should be able to bring down his ERA when the balls stop leaving the yard. We see that Gsellman is having a great start and has actually improved from last year. Maybe that is due to being in the bullpen and not having to face the opposition more than once. Contact has dramatically dropped to 71.7% and he is getting more swinging strikes. Now we got to dive into Gsellman’s repertoire to see if anything has changed.
There is a big change, and the change is he is throwing his sinker a lot. He’s reduced throwing his four-seam fastball to a mire 2.0% while throwing his sinker 56.2% of the time. With decreasing his four-seam usage, he is able to throw his slider and curveball more making the majority of his pitches move in and out of the zone. Another good thing is Gsellman’s velocity is back on all his pitches. I did mention earlier that he had a very good ground ball percentage, but what I didn’t mention was that’s the best percentage he’s ever had. Let’s look at his batted ball profile.
Right off the bat we see his ground ball to fly ball ratio is great. A change in approach for Gsellman as he is getting ground balls at a 60.7% rate. Throwing his sinker and curve ball more could be the reasons for this. Everything looks pretty good including the infield fly ball percentage as he’s getting batters to pop up.
Robert Gsellman could be this year’s Brad Peacock. I say could because I don’t know if he will pitch as much as Peacock did last year. At the moment he is a very useful multi-innings reliever who will get you the occasional win plus holds. With the change in his repertoire and throwing his sinker more, he seems to be a different pitcher coming out of the pen. Multi-innings relievers are very useful in a lot of leagues to keep the ratios down and this is one player you should pick up. Only time will tell if he reaches the heights of Peacock, but I’m on board waiting to find out.
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