Closer Carousel: Could A Sleeper Emerge In New York, Or Is Robert Gsellman A Lock For The Role?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The trade of Jeurys Familia has left a gaping hole at the back of the Mets’ bullpen.  You can argue that they don’t really need a closer (because how many games are they going to win), but someone needs to have the role…  They could go with a timeshare, and the newly acquired Bobby Wahl could eventually play a role (as we discussed on our prospect site, which you can read by clicking here), but let’s take a look at the incumbents and try to figure out who’s best suited for the role:


Robert Gsellman
He’s seen as the favorite to assume the role, and the skillset does seem promising:

  • Strikeouts – 8.31 K/9
  • Control – 3.67 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 51.9%

Of course he doesn’t generate a ton of swings and misses (10.1% SwStr%) and he has been hit relatively hard (34.2% Hard%).  That helps to explain why he’s struggled with home runs, despite the groundball rate, with a 1.12 HR/9.  It’s easy to see the upside, and he’s definitely shown potential as he’s settled into a bullpen role, but it’s impossible to consider him “dependable” or a shoe-in to thrive in the role.


Anthony Swarzak
When the Mets signed him in the offseason it was assumed that he’d be among the next up options, but he’s missed significant time with injury and been horrific when he’s actually been on the mound.  Maybe come September he’s figured it out, but as of now he’s a late game non-factor.


Joey Blevins
He’s viewed as a left-handed specialist, but left-handed hitters are slashing .326/.426/.600 against him this season.  Is there any reason to even consider investing?


Seth Lugo
Lugo got a shot to entrench himself in the rotation, but failed to do so and is back operating as a swing man for the Mets out of the bullpen.  Likely the only pitcher who can fill that role, as currently constructed, the Mets seem unlikely to pigeon hole him into ninth inning duties.


The Field:

  • Taylor Bashlor – Prior to his promotion to the Majors he owned a 4.50 BB/9 and 27.5% groundball rate over 24.0 IP at Double-A… There’s no other statement needed
  • Jacob Rhame – Acquired from the Dodgers at last year’s deadline, Rhame did have an 11.28 K/8 and 2.39 BB/9 over 26.1 IP at Triple-A this year. His control has been solid in the Majors (2.30 BB/9 over 15.2 IP) and he has been getting swings and misses, despite the lack of strikeouts (13.1%).  So far so good, but he needs to figure out how to keep the ball in the ballpark (2.30 HR/9 courtesy of a 26.0% groundball rate and 56.0% fly ball rate).  If he can do that, he has the makings of a late inning weapon.
  • Tim Peterson – He’s similar to Rhame in that he brings strikeouts (9.00 K/9 courtesy of a 13.6% SwStr%) and control (1.00 BB/9) over 18.0 IP in the Majors. The problem is he’s posted a gaudy 2.50 HR/9, thanks to a 29.8% groundball rate.  He needs to figure out how to keep the ball in the ballpark, and then he may be able to claim a valuable stake in this bullpen.
  • Drew Smith – He’s only thrown 3.0 innings in the Majors, and while he has shown more groundball stuff than some of the others (45.3% over 32.2 IP at Triple-A), he also doesn’t have the same swing and miss potential (9.3% SwStr% at Triple-A) and showed mediocre control (3.31 BB/9)


At the end of the day Gsellman is the name to watch, but as we stated when we looked at the Mets’ return it’s possible that Wahl ultimately is the man to challenge him.  It will be an interesting two months, but at the end of the day no one here are highly trustworthy options.

Source – Fangraphs

Make sure to check out all of our Midseason Prospect Rankings:

First Baseman
Second Base
Third Baseman

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