The New York Mets bolster one of the best rotations in baseball and this season, there could be a new name who emerges as a major contributor. Robert Gsellman is reportedly the front runner to start the season in New York's rotation as its fifth starter.
The Record's Matt Ehalt reported on Friday morning that Gsellman holds the early edge over fellow youngster Seth Lugo for the fifth starter job. The job is open of course because Zach Wheeler, a former top pitching prospect who in 2014 pitched tremendously in his second season but has missed the past two seasons with elbow injuries.
Gsellman, who made his MLB debut last season, wasn't really seen as a major prospect before the 2016 season. He ranked as the Mets' 14th best prospect by MLB.com and MinorLeagueBall had him outside the Mets' top-20 prospects. But before 2016, his strikeout ability never really showed, though the ERA was solid.
When he arrived in New York, the stuff just seemed much better than it had ever been before. Across seven starts in the big leagues, Gsellman registered an 8.46 K/9 with a 2.42 ERA AND 2.63 FIP, he pitched at an ace level. Gsellman's command wasn't especially sharp with 15 walks in 44 2/3 innings, but he also allowed as many hits (42) as strikeouts over that time.
Gsellman is who fantasy owners should want to crack the rotation to start the season. He certainly carries some risk and question marks. Gsellman's numbers over seven starts shined, but three of them came against the Philadelphia Phillies and two came against the Atlanta Braves. So it will leave questions about how he will fare against higher-quality lineups and with more tape and understanding of how he pitches by opponents.
We'll see more from Gsellman throughout spring training and if he continues to look strong, he should absolutely be on the fantasy radar going forward.