The best Mets pitching prospects I saw this year: #5 Robert Gsellman

Jessica Rudman

The countdown of the best Mets prospects we saw in 2013 continues as we kick off our top five arms with wandering righthander, Robert Gsellman.

Disclaimer (because someone will ask why a player I didn't see isn't on this list): This is a ranking of the best Mets prospects I saw in person this year. This is not a comprehensive Mets prospect list. I did not see Las Vegas, St. Lucie or the GCL team this year. If a player is not on the list, it is most likely because I did not see him. Otherwise, all rankings are consistent with how I would order the players within the Mets system. Oh yeah, and I am not a scout.

5. Robert Gsellman, RHP

6'4", 200 lbs

Bats/Throws: R/R

Age: (as of Opening Day 2014) 20.7

Acquired: 13th round, 2011

2013: 108 IP, 18.5% K, 5.1% BB, 99 H, 5 HR between Brooklyn (SS-A), Savannah (A), and St. Lucie (A+)

Date(s) seen: 8/24/13 @ Vermont Lake Monsters (OAK): 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K

The short of it: 2011 prep arm has a starter's build and three potential major league offerings, but a long way to go to get to his back-of-the-rotation ceiling.

The long of it: Solid frame, works fast, and repeats his delivery well (by Penn League standards at least). Gsellman uses a true 3/4 delivery and has a bit of a lean backwards at foot strike, but was able to maintain his balance throughout the delivery dues to his athleticism. Fields his position well. Maintains momentum and stuff out of the stretch. Fastball was 90-92, but touched 95 a couple times when he wanted to go up the ladder. In the later innings dropped to at 89-91, but still touched 94. Average command of the fastball (which is impressive at this level) and spotted the pitch away to both sides of the plate especially well. Showed a low 80s curve as his primary secondary offering. It looked good early with late downward break, but his feel for it came and went. Could get slurvy when he got on the side of it, and when he was struggling with the pitch, he would slow down his arm action. Potential solid-average pitch with further refinement, which was unexpected. Overall, change was better present-day offering: 81-84, could be a bit firm at times, especially at higher velocities, but he maintained his arm speed, lending the pitch some added deception. Showed a few with solid depth (downward motion) as well. As with the curve, potential solid-average pitch. Gsellman fell in love with two-strike offspeed stuff at times, leading to deeper counts as his feel the secondaries wavered. Would have liked to see him be more aggressive up in the zone with the fastball in pitcher's counts, but generally mixed up his approach/arsenal well.

The projection: #4 starter

Risk Factor: Very High. Solid fastball command and approach on the mound makes him a bit lower risk than your average Penn League starter, but the breaking ball needs consistency if he's going to have better luck in full-season ball in 2014.

What’s next: Gsellman will break 2014 camp in full-season ball as a starter. Given that the Mets had enough confidence to throw him into St. Lucie for a couple spot starts in 2013, and considering the 2014 rotation crunch that is looming for Savannah, I wonder if Gsellman might be skipped directly to the Florida State League with Miller Diaz. Personally I would like to see what a half-season with Viola would do for his breaking ball though.

What I'll be looking for in 2014: If Gsellman can maintain his short-season K-rate in his second look in full-season ball, and if the curveball continues to progress. Those two are probably linked.

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