Robert Gasser overpowered hitters in his lone season at Delta College in 2019. The left-handed pitcher posted a 14-0 record with a 2.38 ERA, 139 strikeouts and 45 walks allowed in 102 innings pitched.
His dominance earned him the junior college pitcher of the year honors and netted him some MLB draft interest. Gasser remained at the college level, however, transferring to the University of Houston.
Last season didn’t materialize as Gasser imagined at Houston. The season ended abruptly due to the pandemic while he struggled in four relief appearances. His inconsistencies resulted in him having to earn a starting rotation spot this season.
Gasser’s offseason work has paid off this spring, as he has displayed improvement with his fastball velocity and secondary pitches. It has caused him to enhance his draft value. Scouts project the Houston lefty as a potential top-two-round pick in July’s draft.
“It is tough to fight that urge, especially with all the stuff going on,” Gasser said. “But honestly, I try to go day-by-day and not look too far into the future. That stuff is going to come. But, I am trying to stay in the moment.”
This season, Gasser has served as Houston’s ace. He has recorded a 2.48 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 24 walks allowed in 76 1/3 innings.
Gasser is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound left-handed pitcher who throws a four-seam fastball, two-seamer, slider, curveball and changeup from a three-quarters arm slot and repeatable delivery.
In the offseason, Gasser added 20 pounds to his frame. The added strength allowed him to increase his fastball velocity. After his fastball sat in the high-80s to low-90s last year, Gasser’s fastball is consistently in the low-90s and touching 96 mph this spring.
He typically uses his four-seam fastball and will mix in a two-seamer early in counts to generate swings and misses.
His slider is his best secondary pitch and shows above-average characteristics. He has two slider variations as he throws a loopy slider and a hard slider.
“My compete factor is my biggest strength,” Gasser said. “I think anyone can throw hard and have good stuff, but if you don’t have conviction in what you are doing and 100% trust, then you aren’t going to have success. I think that’s what separates me from other guys.”
Gasser also mixes in his curveball and changeup. His changeup flashes potential as a future quality offering. The changeup’s development will determine if he starts in professional baseball.
While Gasser has refined his pitches throughout his two years at Houston, he believes he has made the most growth in the mental aspect of the game. He credits Houston pitching coach Terry Rooney for his improved mindset on the mound.
“He has been crucial in helping me get better, especially with the mental game,” Gasser said. “Physically, I always could pitch and be successful. But, the weight gain has helped a lot and the mental aspect with becoming more of a pitcher instead of just a thrower has really helped me this spring.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He has interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.