A month ago, the New York Mets made the bold move to transition two of their highest-volume relievers to the rotation. Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo each came to the majors with expectations of starting, but after years of working effectively out of the bullpen, the Mets gambled by moving the pair back to the rotation mid-season. The experiment is over for Gsellman, writes MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.
Gsellman’s longest outing was a 4-inning stint in which he allowed one run while striking out four and walking none. While the Mets eventually lost that game 2-1, it was the only game of the four Gsellman started that went that way. Still, short outings and an 8.68 ERA suggest Gsellman is better suited to returning to his usual role in the bullpen, where the Mets rank 11th as a team by ERA and 12th by FIP.
Besides, the Mets’ rotation is full again with ace Jacob deGrom followed by Rick Porcello, David Peterson, and Michael Wacha. The 25-year-old Peterson has been a pleasant surprise, going 4-1 with a 3.03 ERA/4.02 FIP. His emergence has been especially important considering the de-evolution and subsequent injured list stint for fellow southpaw Steven Matz. Matz slumped to a 0-4 mark with an unsightly 8.63 ERA/6.69 FIP before being placed on the injured list for shoulder bursitis.
The right-handed, non-deGrom, veteran division of the rotation – consisting of Porcello and Wacha – have produced subpar results by measure of ERA, but take a look at an ERA-indicator like FIP and you’ll find a much different story. Porcello boasts just a 1-4 record over 8 starts (39 innings) with a 5.54 ERA – but a 2.97 FIP. Wacha, similarly, has a horrid 7.20 ERA over 5 starts (20 innings) – but a much more respectable 4.40 FIP. Wacha in particular has shown an impressive 12.2 K/9, easily a career high, but he’s also surrendered 12.6 hits per nine innings, a mark that’s equally outside his career norms. A .429 BABIP against might be partially responsible for the discrepancy between FIP and ERA, giving the Mets cause to believe in their rotation over the season’s final three weeks.
Lugo will continue to hold down the fifth spot in the rotation. Long one of New York’s most reliable relievers, Lugo has continued to impress from the rotation. While no stranger to the rotation – Lugo made 31 starts from 2016 to 2018 – he worked exclusively out of the pen in 2019 for an identical 2.70 ERA/FIP across 61 appearances covering 80 innings. He’s been their most reliable bullpen arm in recent seasons, but having acquired Miguel Castro from the Orioles at the deadline and moving Gsellman back to the pen, the Mets are betting that they can afford to keep Lugo in the rotation for now. The 30-year-old has done an admirable job stretching himself to starter’s minutes, culminating in a 5-inning outing his last time out. In total, Lugo has a 1.54 ERA across 11 2/3 innings since moving to the rotation.