One night after Miguel Batista made the Brewers look impotent, the same team knocked around Dillon Gee pretty good, as they notched 7 ER in 5.1 IP against the interjection (h/t Doug Parker). In his last two starts, Gee has allowed 11 ER in 11 IP. For the season Gee has a 5.65 ERA in 43 IP, pretty much in line with his 5.51 ERA over his final 94.2 IP last year.

That seems … bleak.

However, it may not be as bad as it seems. Or, there may be a way to get more out of Gee than the Mets are currently. Gee has made seven starts this year – let’s sort them by Game Score, a metric devised by Bill James to rate a pitcher’s performance in a given start. Most starts earn in the range of 0 to 100, although it’s possible to exceed either goal post. Generally, a start with a score in the 50s or better is pretty good. Here are Gee’s starts ranked from best to worst.

4/16 – 69
5/4 – 59
4/28 – 54
4/10 – 43
5/9 – 37
5/15 – 27
4/23 – 26

We have three good starts, one okay start and three starts that range from poor to fair. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but the three good starts were all with Josh Thole behind the plate while the other four had either Mike Nicekeas or Rob Johnson. Very few people think Thole is a good defensive catcher but could it be that he and Gee have developed a rapport?

If we go back to last year, we see Gee had 15 starts with a Game Score rated 50 or higher. Thole caught 12 of those, including the top five and eight of the top 10.

Gee has appeared in 42 games in the majors and made 39 starts, with 236.2 IP under his belt. Let’s take a look at how Gee has done with Thole behind the plate compared to our non-Thole catchers. In addition to Nickeas and Johnson, Henry Blanco and Ronny Paulino have also caught Gee in the majors.

Catcher

IP

ERA

FIP

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

Thole

150.2

3.23

3.75

.235

.317

.352

.669

Others

86.0

6.28

5.57

.283

.359

.480

.839

Gee has made six starts in his career where he’s given up 5 ER or more and someone besides Thole has been behind the plate each time.

We are used to stars like Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux having a personal catcher. We’re also used to a knuckleball pitcher having his own catcher. Gee does not fit into either category but I hope that once Thole returns from his concussion that he will be behind the plate for the majority of Gee’s starts the rest of the year.

4 comments on “Should Josh Thole be Dillon Gee’s personal catcher?

  • Bobby Townsend

    Worth taking a look at when Thole gets healthy again. Gee’s best starts came in Atlanta on April 16, in Colorado on April 28 and vs Arizona on May 4, all with Thole behind the plate. Some managers don’t believe in personal catchers for pitchers and I am sure how Collins feels about that.
    Just heard the 2013 All-Star Game will be held at Citi Field.

    • Brian Joura

      When the Mets hosted the AS Game in 1964, there were 20 teams. So they should have hosted it again in 1984. But MLB added six teams. They should have hosted by 1990. They didn’t get to host in the last year at Shea and then have to wait five years after they open a new park. It’s disgraceful.

  • Metsense

    Josh gets a knock because of his defense, which is probably true, but your post sheds some light on the good side of Thole. Thole is a gamer and doesn’t get enough credit for catching the knuckle ball. Gee ought to send Josh a year’s supply of aspirin because Josh may be saving Gee’s career and needs to get back soon. Gee needs to step it up. 3 of 7 quality starts (a misnomer, they should be called average starts) is not acceptable.

    • Brian Joura

      People always ripped Piazza because he couldn’t throw. But he seemed to do everything else you could want a catcher to do, including getting the most out of his pitchers. I didn’t run these numbers with anyone else, but it would be fun to see if Thole has a little bit of the same thing going on.

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