It takes a special kind of Mets fan to stream a Binghamton Mets game in the Pacific Northwest while it’s sunny outside.
I live in Eugene, Oregon. There are few, if any, who share similar enthusiasm for my beloved New York Mets. Before the 2015 MLB season began, I purchased an account for MLB.tv and Google Chromecast, which allows me to broadcast anything streaming on my phone to my television, so I’m able to watch the Mets on the TV while also typing away notes and/or tweets on my laptop.
I have five roommates, and the six of us share one television. Only two watch any kind of baseball, and one is a Braves fan. No one really appreciates how many times each has had to watch Bartolo Colon pitch since living with me.
So when I turned on the Double-A affiliate on Saturday to watch Robert Gsellman pitch his debut, my roommates didn't seem thrilled.
In fairness to me, however, there was plenty of reason for excitement surrounding this rising star. In eight games at High-A ball for the St. Lucie Mets this season, Gsellman had a perfect 6-0 record.
The Mets were 7-1 in games that Gsellman pitched for St. Lucie, with the only loss on May 11, when he threw eight innings, allowing just one run on five hits. However, when recent MLB closer Bobby Parnell came in to earn the save, the former MLB pitcher blew the 2-1 lead, and the club lost 4-2.
Otherwise, Gsellman ended his tenure with St. Lucie with a 1.76 ERA and 0.941 WHIP, allowing 1.9 walks per nine innings, along with a solid 6.5 strikeouts. By his start on May 18, his ERA was as low as 1.43. In fact, through his first seven starts of the season, Gsellman had allowed just seven earned runs.
By the time he was called up to Double-A on May 27, he had already earned some accolades. For example, he won Florida State League Pitcher of the Week (May 11) after throwing eight scoreless innings on May 4; during this game he took a no-hitter until the eighth inning and allowed just one hit.
In September 2013, Gsellman won the Sterling Award for the Brooklyn Cyclones as the Most Outstanding Player for the Mets affiliate and was honored at Citi Field for his accomplishments.
He is 23-16 overall in the minors, with a cumulative ERA of 2.82. Hitters are batting just .253 against him, and he’s thrown four complete games while displaying his endurance.
I’m not the only one talking about Gsellman these days. His fastball, which reaches 94 mph, is his most dominant pitch. But with solid command on his changeup and a developing curveball, he is receiving praise from websites like Baseball Prospectus.
“It isn’t very often I come across a prospect I know very little about who impresses me as much as Gsellman had just a week earlier,” explained Jeff Moore. In another profile on Gsellman for Baseball Prospectus, Moore projected his MLB future. “Gsellman should fit nicely in the middle of a big league rotation...even if the changeup never reaches its average potential.”
Gsellman (6’4”, 200 lbs) is a natural athlete who also played varsity basketball for Westchester High School in Los Angeles, where he won a state championship.
“It might be time to re-evaluate how we view Gsellman, who carried a no-hitter into the eighth before losing it on a one-out single,” wrote Greg Karam on the Mets blog, Amazin’ Avenue. “There's still time to jump on the Gsellman bandwagon, but he might not be our little secret for much longer.”
Gsellman, who was drafted in the 13th round in 2011, is no longer a secret. MiLB.com produced this video profile, which claimed Gsellman “wouldn’t be outworked by anyone in the organization” in March 2015.
MinorLeagueBall.com ranked him No. 12 overall in its preseason top prospects, ahead of 2013 first-round pick Dominic Smith. Newsday ranked him No. 8 overall for pitching prospects, just two spots behind now-MLB pitcher Rafael Montero.
Amazin' Avenue had Gsellman as its No. 15 overall prospect before the season, listed in front of top prospect Matt Reynolds. The story was published in February 2015, and four of the players listed (Noah Syndergaard, Kevin Plawecki, Montero and Gavin Cecchini) just ahead of him have already earned spots on the MLB roster this season.
When I turned on his Binghamton debut, I missed the first inning, which means I missed the strikeout he recorded against his first batter. I did, however, turn on the game just in time for the two-run home run he allowed versus Eric Wood in the second inning.
My roommates were far from impressed. Gsellman was pulled after 4.0 innings pitched; he recorded six strikeouts but allowed six earned runs. His bullpen allowed another seven runs, and the Mets lost 13-4 in his debut.
On the bright side, in his first two at-bats as a hitter in the minors, Gsellman reached base both times. He leads the minors in hitting, batting 1.000 with two hits.
At this point in the story, it’s also worth mentioning (though it’s far from the most important part of this story) that Gsellman was my next-door neighbor growing up. He was also my childhood best friend and one of the nicest and goofiest kids on the planet.
When he gets the ball for his next start for Binghamton, expect my roommates to give Gsellman another shot to win them over. It’s a long season.
Bryan Kalbrosky is a writer whose work has appeared in The HuffingtonPost, Yahoo! Sports, ESPN Denver and various other publications. For more of his work, follow him on Twitter @BryanKalbrosky.