Pitchers and catchers reported on Sunday, and now it’s time for constant Mets news, rumors, and drama. According to multiple reports, Terry Collins has said that there is an open competition amongst Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo, and Robert Gsellman for the fifth starting role in the rotation. The first four spots are locked down by Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz.
The Mets' most fascinating camp battle? Fifth starter. Terry Collins just called it an "open competition" amongst Wheeler, Gsellman, Lugo.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) February 13, 2017
Wheeler is coming off of a two year absence due to Tommy John surgery so nobody truly knows what to expect from him. Before his surgery, he was a highly regarded prospect around the entire league (ranked 33 according to MLB.com). When he came to the big leagues, he put up decent numbers: a 3.42 ERA in 2013 and a 3.54 ERA in 2014. It will be very interesting to see where Wheeler ultimately ends up on April 3 considering earlier reports this winter indicating the Mets were inclined to start him off as a reliever.
This opportunity is well deserved by both Lugo and Gsellman. Both pitchers came up last season to simply fill voids on the roster; they weren’t expected to be great in the majors by any means. Clearly that wasn’t the case: Lugo pitched 64 innings, had a record of 5-2 and pitched to a 2.67 ERA. Gsellman, in 44.2 innings, pitched to a 2.42 ERA and averaged 8.5 SO/9. These numbers themselves tell the narrative of how they both played a major role in what ended with a Wild Card berth.
Now that this competition is in place, all eyes will be on these three throughout the spring. It’ll certainly be exciting to see how it all pans out.