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The View from Behind the Backstop: Mets pitching prospect Robert Gsellman

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Gsellman pitched well enough in St. Luice to get a bump to Binghamton before the break. Will Double-A offer more of a challenge for this polished righthander?

Gordon Donovan

Robert Gsellman
RHP, Binghamton Mets (AA)
Height, weight: 6'4", 200
Age (2015 season age): 21
Acquired: 13th round, 2011 
Date(s) seen: 6/13/15 vs New Britain Rock Cats: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
2015 so far:
A+: 51 IP, 37 H, 37 K, 11 BB, 1 HR
AA: 23 IP, 25 H, 17 K, 8 BB, 1 HR

Profile and mechanics

Robert Gsellman is a big, athletic kid with a textbook starting pitcher's frame. He appears to be in better shape than he was in 2013. His delivery is simple, compact, and repeatable, and he throws from a three-quarters slot.

Fastball

Gsellman sat 90-92 (topping out at 94 mph) early, 88-90 (topping out at 92 mph) late. It's a two-seam fastball with good sink and run that jams righties and breaks bats. He shows average command, but I expect further improvements here. Overall, command has improved since I saw him in Brooklyn in August 2013. The velocity is easy, and Gsellman can dominate with the two-seamer down in the zone at times, but his location has to be good at this velocity range. Thigh-high fastballs were line drives, but with further refinement he should get ground balls in the majors with this pitch. There's not much more projection here, but command and movement will make this a major league fastball.

Current Grade: 50 (Average)

Future Grade: 55 (Solid-average)

Breaking Ball

Gsellman was mostly fastball/changeup early. He kept the curve in the holster most of the day, but has clearly made huge strides with the pitch over the last two seasons. The breaking ball showed tight 11-5 movement at 78-81, and it comes out of the hand similarly to the fastball. He can spot in the zone and hitters at this level will give up on it. When he tried to bury it to put guys away, it would get more sweepy. It's a potential major league out pitch with better command.

Current Grade: 50 (Average)

Future Grade: 60: (Above-average/plus)

Changeup

The first change flashed plus with a deceptive arm action and good sink, but otherwise the pitch was very inconsistent. At 84-85 it shows good velocity separation from the fastball. but the ball often came out of Gsellman's hand flat. There is certainly some potential there, but it needs a lot more refinement than the breaking ball. The best he showed were better than in my 2013 look, but the consistency just hasn't come yet.

Current Grade: 40 (Below-average)

Future Grade: 50: (Average)

The optimistic projection

55: #4 starter

The likely outcome

45: #5 starter

It's not a sexy profile, but Gsellman potentially offers three average-or-better pitches with the mechanics and body to handle a starter's workload. I may even be a tick low on him, but it's tough to work at 88-92 in the majors without really fine command.

Gsellman could also work in a setup role if the changeup doesn't fully develop. He has touched 95 for me in the past, and the curve would be a weapon in short bursts. However, I would give him every opportunity to start.

What to look for during the rest of the 2015 season

Gsellman has had ups and downs so far in his brief Eastern League stint. There are going to be fewer nights where he can just dominate with his two-seam fastball as Jeff Moore observed in the Florida State League (though I caught one of them). I expect to see more curves and more strikeouts for Gsellman as the summer goes on, but as you'd expect with this profile, Double-A will be a test.