Kevin Kernan of the New York Post caught up with Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman at Spring Training yesterday, both of whom spent the majority of the 2018 season in the bullpen for the first time in their respective careers.
In 2019, the duo will be joining a formidable relief corps that includes Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson in addition to probably Drew Smith and Luis Avilan. Meanwhile, Daniel Zamora, Kyle Dowdy, Tyler Bashlor, Hector Santiago, Jacob Rhame, and Paul Sewald will compete for the final spot or two remaining in the pen most likely.
Lugo, 29, is very excited about the prospects of the bullpen this year citing the relievers’ differing pitching styles.
“We can dominate. We’ve got some really good pieces, different types of pitchers. I’m excited to see what we got.’’
Gsellman, 25, agrees with Lugo, believing that the “sky is the limit” for this pitching staff if they really stay focused and “push each other.”
The right-hander continued to say that he doesn’t care about his role this season given the influx of additions that might result in him getting more rest and not being used in as many late-game situations.
“My role really doesn’t matter. We signed the best closer in baseball. I’m just really excited to get going and learn from those guys. It’s going to be a great year.’’
Gsellman entered 68 contests (80 innings pitched) in his first year as a full-time reliever going 6-3 with a 4.28 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 1.300 WHIP, 70 strikeouts, and 13 saves.
Lugo, meanwhile, appeared in 54 games last season (five starts, 101 1/3 innings pitched) in which he went 3-4 with a 2.66 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 1.076 WHIP, and 103 strikeouts.
Both of them will be looking to improve in 2019 and the latter feels much better going into this season than last, not worrying as much as last year about the partially torn UCL he suffered prior to the start of the 2017 season.
The new look bullpen corps will be trying to put last season’s struggles in the past as the Mets had the third-highest team bullpen WHIP in the NL (1.41) and second-highest OPS against (.776) while also allowing the fourth-most hits (548) and the most home runs (82).
All of those stats led to the Mets compiling a 4.96 bullpen ERA (third-worst in MLB). With the talent the team acquired this past offseason, the expectation is that they will not struggle quite as much in 2019.