2. Robert Gsellman, RHP
Height: 6’4” Weight: 205 lbs.
DOB: 7/18/1993 (23)
Acquired: 13th round, 2011 Draft (Westchester High School, Florida)
2016: Binghamton (Double-A): 11 G (11 SG), 66.1, 57 H, 23 R, 20 ER (2.71 ERA), 15 BB, 48 K / Las Vegas (Triple-A): 9 G (9 GS), 48.2 IP, 56 H, 35 R, 31 ER (5.73 ERA), 16 BB, 40 K / New York (MLB): 8 G (7 GS), 44.2 IP, 42 H, 12 R, 12 ER (2.42 ERA), 15 BB, 42 K
The Robert Gsellman of 2016 was a completely different pitcher from the Robert Gsellman of 2015. A year ago, the right-hander threw mostly in the low-90s, topping out at 94 MPH, with a good curveball and developing change-up. The combination did not strike all that many batters out, but he thrived thanks to a sinking fastball that got a lot of downhill plane thanks to its natural movement and Gsellman’s overhand delivery. That produced a lot of weak contact and a ground ball rate just over 50%. During the offseason and spring training, Gsellman put in some work and transformed himself as a pitcher. He was able to add some velocity to his fastball, and added a slider to his pitch selection.
The results manifested themselves in an impressive showing with the Binghamton Mets to start the season. His fastball had more velocity to it, averaging roughly 94 MPH and touching as high as 98. He took to his new slider fairly fast, and it quickly became a weapon against right-handers, flashing plus. As is often the case, his slider improved on his curveball, an already potentially-plus pitch. Gsellman is not without his warts—he sometimes loses command of his sinker, his change still lags far behind his other secondary pitches, and he has yet to throw more than 150 innings in a single season—but who isn’t? His incredible transformation from fringe back-end starter to solid mid-rotation starter—and perhaps even more—is a testament to how proficient the organization has become with improving pitchers who fit a certain profile.
Gsellman’s uptick in velocity and addition of the Warthen slider has taken him from a potential mid-rotation starter to a potential top-of-the-rotation starter. He had a 2.42 ERA in the majors in 2016, and the stuff matched the results. He’s now averaging almost 94 on his fastball and touches 95 regularly, which is up from mostly 90-93 in 2015. His curveball was above average and his slider is already a plus offering. The only thing Gsellman needs to improve on is his changeup, which is below average and clearly his worst pitch. Much like Steven Matz last year, Gsellman is already an above-average starter, and he should be a big contributor to the Mets in 2017.
Copy and paste the blurb for Ynoa here. After struggling to post intriguing strikeout numbers in the minors, Dan Warthen waved his magic wand and gave Gsellman a velocity bump and a slider that flashes plus. He has a four-pitch mix, with all three of his secondaries being viable (albeit in need of some refinement). The new strikeouts coupled with a superb ground ball rate makes Gsellman a top-20 prospect in my mind.
Months ago, when Gsellman was still in Triple-A, I had him penciled in as the Mets’ top pitching prospect, and I thought it would be a somewhat controversial opinion. Fast forward roughly 45 major league innings, and obviously, he’s the Mets’ top pitching prospect. The gains that he made earlier in the season, some additional velocity on his fastball and a more polished slider, combined with his track record of experience justified having him leap over Justin Dunn and Thomas Szapucki on my list, and his performance at the major league level made me stop questioning myself.