Despite coming through the minors and holding down big-league roles as starting pitchers through late-2016 and much of 2017, both Gsellman and Lugo served as formidable long-relief weapons last season. Gsellman led Met relievers with a 49.4% groundball rate while carrying a 3.95 FIP through 68 appearances. His -0.3 bWAR and 0.3 fWAR paint a more mediocre picture, though much of it can be attributed to a poor second half, though even then, Gsellman managed a 3.04 FIP with a 29% chase rate.
Lugo, who actually made five starts last year in the absence of Noah Syndergaard in June, held up a fine 3.91 ERA and 4.50 K/BB ratio, but struggled to go deep, averaging just under five innings per start in that time.
Upon moving back to the bullpen, Lugo held batters to a .209/.268/.288 line while stranding 80% of runners. There has been much conversation regarding a potential move back into the rotation given the team’s questionable depth beyond veteran lefty Jason Vargas, though the Mets are evidently more concerned with keeping Lugo grounded in his most successful role as a late-game weapon capable of eating innings.
The two combined to make just three starts in last year’s spring training, allowing no walks and just six hits through seven innings – though it’s worth noting that the two worked exclusively out of the bullpen from March 7 through the end of camp. They will look to contribute to a revamped back-end that includes the likes of Edwin Díaz, Jeurys Familia, and Justin Wilson among others.