Gsellman Shows Early Potential

After being selected in the 13th round in 2011, pitcher Robert Gsellman began his professional career with a solid, if unspectacular, rookie year out of the bullpen in the Gulf Coast League [4.15 ERA in 13.0 IP]. Entering into his first full season in the Mets organization, however, Gsellman is now in the rotation in the Appalachian League and eager to impress.

With his first start of the 2012 campaign, the young right-hander out of Westchester High School [Los Angeles, CA] flashed the potential to impress many around the organization and give fans a reason to remember his name [pronounced "Giselle-man," by the way].

Against the Greeneville Astros, Gsellman went six innings, giving up only one unearned run with three strikeouts and no walks, en route to Kingsport's first win of the season.

"I just felt really good out there," Gsellman said about his first appearance in the Appalachian League. "Down in Florida, in Extended Spring Training, it's really hot. Ever since I got up here, I've just been feeling really good and loose."

Pitching coach Jonathan Hurst sees more to Gsellman's game than lower temperatures, though.

"The first thing I saw was his pitchability," Hurst said. "He goes out and he's not very overpowering, but he has a knack for pitching. He works both sides of the plate with his fastball, nice little curveball, and a very good changeup.

"He really goes out there and takes command of his games. He's not really in a hurry but assesses the situation, and he pitches to his strong points and tries his best to pitch hitters to their weak points."

Gsellman's pitching savvy is a byproduct of a less than overpowering arm. Despite his large frame – 6'4", 200 – Gsellman's fastball comes in around 88-90 mph, with some late action, which he plays well off low-80s changeup and a hard curve. Gsellman acknowledges that he has been working on adding some more power to his arm.

"I spent the offseason looking to get stronger and get in shape. The fastball's at 88-90 now, but it's gotten up to 92 this year."

Manager Jose Leger also displayed an appreciation for the young pitcher's game.

"Ever since extended, he's been surprising me with the way he goes out there and throws strikes," Leger said. "He competes, uses his changeup as his secondary pitch, and he's not afraid to come in on hitters.

"He's got a good arm, a good angle on his fastball. He's fun to watch. We all agreed he was going to be one of our starting pitchers ever since we knew he was going to be with us.

"For a young kid, he's very mature. He understands what's going on. He is still learning how to set up hitters, obviously, and understanding hitters' tendencies and all that, but he's going a good job."

While pitchability may be a little on the technical side and difficult to notice from the cheap seats, there is an element of Gsellman's game both the coach and fan can appreciate: his tempo.

He works with a relentless pace on the mound, though it is hard to gather as much from talking to the soft-spoken, slow-talking Gsellman. The 19-year old shrugged off questions about his rhythm and tempo.

"I don't know, I guess I don't think about it too much. I just try to go out there and keep hitters on their toes," Gsellman said.

His coach was more than willing to praise his pitcher's tempo on the mound, however.

"Hitters hate rhythm pitchers," Hurst explained. "They get the ball back, get on the mound, don't spend too much time messing around – trying to clean the mound, trying to think too much.

"When hitters settle in at the plate, that's when a pitcher really get in trouble. [Gsellman] forces those guys to get back in the box by getting that rhythm and tempo kicked in."

Hurst tagged a warning to the end of his praise, however.

"One thing I'm waiting to happen is to see if he'll slow his pace down a little bit if he gets in trouble. It's going to happen."

The skipper agreed, knowing that true coaching and improvement will not begin until there is something to overcome. After praising Gsellman for his composure on the mound, Leger added that composure comes easily when it is your night. It is those other nights where a player must step up and show his merit.

With ten earned runs allowed over his last two starts, that time has come.

"He's a young kid, and you never how kids will handle things early on," Leger said. "You never know how they're going to come back after having some kind of failure. Hopefully he keeps doing well, but it's all going to come down to the one day he doesn't do well, how he is going to come back.

"But we're expecting him to have a good season. He already proved he can do it with that first outing, which was very important. The fact he wasn't nervous tells me we might see a good season out of him, but it all depends on how he deals with his first bad outing."

The coaches' words, which came pre-game the day of Gsellman's second start of the season, proved to be unfortunately prophetic. Struggling with control throughout the night, Gsellman only lasted 3.2 innings, allowing five runs [fpur earned] on four hits and four walks.

Although a defensive misplay cost the Mets a missed opportunity on a double play ball could have saved three runs, Gsellman failed to find the composure and rhythm that led to his success a week earlier.

Gsellman's second and third outings of the season were a letdown given his prior performance, but now is when the progression of a young ballplayer truly begins.

Gsellman's interview concluded with being asked what he hopes to achieve in his season in Kingsport. "Move on up," he replied. "Get out there, play, and keep moving on up."

How he is able to bounce back from his last couple of disappointing starts amid high hopes will go a long way in determining how successful Gsellman will be in achieving his goal.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nWith his first start of the 2012 campaign, the young right-hander out of Westchester High School [Los Angeles, CA] flashed the potential to impress many around the organization and give fans a reason to remember his name [pronounced \"Giselle-man,\" by the way].
\r\n
\r\nAgainst the Greeneville Astros, Gsellman went six innings, giving up only one unearned run with three strikeouts and no walks, en route to Kingsport's first win of the season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just felt really good out there,\" Gsellman said about his first appearance in the Appalachian League. \"Down in Florida, in Extended Spring Training, it's really hot. Ever since I got up here, I've just been feeling really good and loose.\"
\r\n
\r\nPitching coach Jonathan Hurst sees more to Gsellman's game than lower temperatures, though.
\r\n
\r\n\"The first thing I saw was his pitchability,\" Hurst said. \"He goes out and he's not very overpowering, but he has a knack for pitching. He works both sides of the plate with his fastball, nice little curveball, and a very good changeup.
\r\n
\r\n\"He really goes out there and takes command of his games. He's not really in a hurry but assesses the situation, and he pitches to his strong points and tries his best to pitch hitters to their weak points.\"
\r\n
\r\nGsellman's pitching savvy is a byproduct of a less than overpowering arm. Despite his large frame – 6'4\", 200 – Gsellman's fastball comes in around 88-90 mph, with some late action, which he plays well off low-80s changeup and a hard curve. \r\nGsellman acknowledges that he has been working on adding some more power to his arm.
\r\n
\r\n\"I spent the offseason looking to get stronger and get in shape. The fastball's at 88-90 now, but it's gotten up to 92 this year.\"
\r\n
\r\nManager Jose Leger also displayed an appreciation for the young pitcher's game.
\r\n
\r\n\"Ever since extended, he's been surprising me with the way he goes out there and throws strikes,\" Leger said. \"He competes, uses his changeup as his secondary pitch, and he's not afraid to come in on hitters.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got a good arm, a good angle on his fastball. He's fun to watch. We all agreed he was going to be one of our starting pitchers ever since we knew he was going to be with us.
\r\n
\r\n\"For a young kid, he's very mature. He understands what's going on. He is still learning how to set up hitters, obviously, and understanding hitters' tendencies and all that, but he's going a good job.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile pitchability may be a little on the technical side and difficult to notice from the cheap seats, there is an element of Gsellman's game both the coach and fan can appreciate: his tempo.
\r\n
\r\nHe works with a relentless pace on the mound, though it is hard to gather as much from talking to the soft-spoken, slow-talking Gsellman. The 19-year old shrugged off questions about his rhythm and tempo.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't know, I guess I don't think about it too much. I just try to go out there and keep hitters on their toes,\" Gsellman said.
\r\n
\r\nHis coach was more than willing to praise his pitcher's tempo on the mound, however.
\r\n
\r\n\"Hitters hate rhythm pitchers,\" Hurst explained. \"They get the ball back, get on the mound, don't spend too much time messing around – trying to clean the mound, trying to think too much.
\r\n
\r\n\"When hitters settle in at the plate, that's when a pitcher really get in trouble. [Gsellman] forces those guys to get back in the box by getting that rhythm and tempo kicked in.\"
\r\n
\r\nHurst tagged a warning to the end of his praise, however.
\r\n
\r\n\"One thing I'm waiting to happen is to see if he'll slow his pace down a little bit if he gets in trouble. It's going to happen.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe skipper agreed, knowing that true coaching and improvement will not begin until there is something to overcome. After praising Gsellman for his composure on the mound, Leger added that composure comes easily when it is your night. It is those other nights where a player must step up and show his merit.
\r\n
\r\nWith ten earned runs allowed over his last two starts, that time has come.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a young kid, and you never how kids will handle things early on,\" Leger said. \"You never know how they're going to come back after having some kind of failure. Hopefully he keeps doing well, but it's all going to come down to the one day he doesn't do well, how he is going to come back.
\r\n
\r\n\"But we're expecting him to have a good season. He already proved he can do it with that first outing, which was very important. The fact he wasn't nervous tells me we might see a good season out of him, but it all depends on how he deals with his first bad outing.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe coaches' words, which came pre-game the day of Gsellman's second start of the season, proved to be unfortunately prophetic. Struggling with control throughout the night, Gsellman only lasted 3.2 innings, allowing five runs [fpur earned] on four hits and four walks.
\r\n
\r\nAlthough a defensive misplay cost the Mets a missed opportunity on a double play ball could have saved three runs, Gsellman failed to find the composure and rhythm that led to his success a week earlier.
\r\n
\r\nGsellman's second and third outings of the season were a letdown given his prior performance, but now is when the progression of a young ballplayer truly begins.
\r\n
\r\nGsellman's interview concluded with being asked what he hopes to achieve in his season in Kingsport. \"Move on up,\" he replied. \"Get out there, play, and keep moving on up.\"
\r\n
\r\nHow he is able to bounce back from his last couple of disappointing starts amid high hopes will go a long way in determining how successful Gsellman will be in achieving his goal.
\r\n
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