Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Gurriel, Lugo, & Gsellman

First, I would like to apologize for recently covering quite a few players at or below the fringes for most leagues. After moving over from tracking injuries, it seems like a ton of new players have entered the league I know little about. I will probably keep up looking at fringe guys until the season’s end, especially with roster’s expanding. Once the season ends, I will mainly stop with the fringy guys and will go to the top and start making a 2017 draft list.

The Newest Mets’ Starters: Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman

All the Mets’ rotation, with the exception of Noah Syndergaard, has gone on the DL this season. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman are two of the pitchers called up to be replacement starters and here is my stat only based look at each one.

Seth Lugo

Lugo pitched 5 innings last night allowing two runs while striking out four. With this start, his ERA is down to 2.60 for the season.

While Lugo has just made a couple of starts, he’s got the following going for him.

  • He curve may be one of the best in the minors and now the majors. Jeff Sullivan has already looked at its league-high spin rate.
  • His fastball is respectable averaging 92.4 mph
  • He may be a bit old at 26-years-old, but he dealt with some injuries over the years.
  • Additionally, he looks like he struggled at Triple-A this season with a 6.50 ERA and 4.68 FIP, but most pitchers will struggle if they called Las Vegas home.

Robert Gsellman

Even though Gsellman has only started one game and appeared in relief in another, he has some traits which interest me.

  • His fastball has averaged over 94 mph in his two appearances. His fastball has jumped a bit since his last scouting reports. Baseball America had him at 90 mph to 92 mph topping 94 mph in the ’15 and 91 mph to 92 mph in ’16 also topping at 94 mpn . MLB.com has the same velocity reports. Besides the new higher velocity, he seems to not be using exclusively a heavy sinker which was reported in each prospect writeups. Instead, he is mixing in a four-seamer.
  • All reports put him having above average control during his entire minor league career as seen by his  minor league 2.4 BB/9.
  • The scouting reports are not in love with his breaking stuff, but they have worked in majors so far with his curve and slider each generating a swinging strike rate above 10%.
  • The Mets don’t have a starter set for Sunday and Gsellman could fill the role.

Both pitchers having a huge issue facing them, playing time. Besides competing against each other, the Mets still control the five young flame throwers who should be rotation options ahead of the pair. I could see both moving back and forth between the minors as spots open up as starters or relievers in ’17. Correctly guessing their innings pitched will be important in evaluating them for 2017. If I was to pick from the pair right now, I would go with Gsellman based on being four years younger and his faster fastball.

Yulieski Gurriel: Quick Look

Gurriel currently has 20 major plate appearances, a nice shiny triple slash line (.389/.450/.500) supported by a .438 BABIP and great plate discipline numbers (both K% and BB% at 10%). Looking at the stats which stabilize the quickest (Contact% and Swing%), he’s showing some high swing and contact skills. He swings more than the league average (54% vs 47%) and makes more contact than usual (88% vs 78%). If he keeps up similar plate discipline numbers, I expect his BB% to drop under the league average 8% and his K% to also be under league-average 21%. In 81 minor-league plate appearances, his walk rate was 5% and his strikeout rate was at 21%.

He is not showing a ton of power right now with just a .111 ISO in the majors (.179 ISO in the minors). Additionally, his average batted ball velocity of 87.8 mph is surrounded by such “sluggers” as Nick Ahmed, Jace Peterson, Zack Greinke, and Delino DeShields. On onto the looks. I had time to watch plate appearances from two of his games.

8/29 vs A’s

  • In his first at-bat, the athletic looking righty was first pitch swinging at a change. His wrists were quick enough to hit the ball to the third baseman. He was given a hit, but should have been an error on the third baseman who bounced the ball to first base. I timed him from the right side at 4.35 secs or 45 grade Speed.
  • The second at bat was a groundball to the pitcher. He wasn’t taking anything borderline and was hacking at some tough pitches early.
  • The third at bat had him first pitch swinging at a borderline strike in which he was safe on a fielder’s choice. He let up just a bit at the end, but I timed him at 4.52 secs to 1B.
  • He took the first pitch and then went hacking at the next pitch in his last at-bat. He was able to go inside-out on an inside pitch for a hit up the middle.

8/28 vs Rays

  • In the first at-bat, he had the best at bat I saw of the all of them with seven pitches seen.
  • His second time up saw him swinging-and-missing at two sliders in the dirt. Then he almost hit a hanging slider to the warning track. A true power hitter would have hit this pitch out of the park.
  • He keeps showing his ability to make contact when he puts a slider in the dirt in play his third time up.
  • He started his fourth at bat with three foul balls and eventually lined to center.

With this look and the stats information, I see him as a light line drive/groundball hitting infielder with OK speed. His high swing/high contact ways will make him susceptible to huge BABIP swings for him to have value.

I don’t see a reason to Gurrell right now unless the league is 15 teams or deeper. He may be comparable to the 2016 versions of Brandon Phillips, Francisco Lindor, or Eduardo Nunez.


• I would stay away from Taijuan Walker if possible until next year. He has just had two DL stints (foot) and in his most recent start, all his pitches were down over 2 mph compared to 2015 and earlier this season.

Martin Perez got nailed with the headline, “Perez lacking put-away pitch against Indians”. The key point is that he has a put-away pitch, his change-up which has a 16% swinging-strike rate. The problem with this game he had no control of it. With this pitch not working, he doesn’t have a second above average pitch.

Having just one above average pitch can be an issue if the pitch isn’t working. When looking for pitchers, look for some with at least two average to above average pitches. With multiple pitches, a pitcher can still be sort of effective if he doesn’t have feel for one of the other pitches.

Derek Holland just returned from the DL and his velocity was at a three-year low during his last start. Start at your own risk.

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

Lugo pitched 6 innings last night and his ERA is now 2.6