The Mets’ starting rotation has been frustrating this season. Starters Jonathon Niese and Matt Harvey have turned out consistent — and at times superb — starts this season, however the rest of the rotation has been mediocre at best. Granted, it’s early yet, but no one has been more of a disappointment this season than Dillon Gee, whose starts have been solid at times, yet at other times he has struggled.
Gee’s problems can probably be attributed to the fact that he lost most of his 2012 campaign to a blood clot in his right shoulder which required season-ending surgery. Anytime a player has undergone some sort of shoulder injury it raises concern, as this usually leads to a decline in velocity. Pitchers like Brandon Webb and Mark Mulder have had to retire early due to shoulder injuries. The good news for Gee is that his injury hasn’t been serious enough to make him retire, but it definitely has caused some decline in velocity.
|Year||Fastball Velocity||Two Seam Fastball Velocity||Cutter Velocity||Slider Velocity||Curveball Velocity||Changeup Velocity|
Although we’re dealing with a small sample size of only 19.2 innings thrown, it appears that Gee’s stuff just is not quite there. He’s lost three miles per hour off his average fastball. Gee has never been a flamethrower by any stretch of the imagination, but losing three miles per hour on his fastball, when he didn’t have much velocity to begin with, can make a significant difference in how he performs. His inconsistency could be attributed to the fact that he doesn’t necessarily have a strong fastball to counteract his secondary pitches, making him very vulnerable because it’s difficult for him to keep opposing batters off balance the way he did before his shoulder injury.
Gee’s decline in velocity and early season struggles raise questions of what’s in store for the 2013 season. He has still only made four starts, and there is still plenty of time for him to turn himself around. He might even be able to regain his velocity as the season progresses.
The key to Gee’s success will be whether or not he can harness his control. Gee’s pitches have not only been flat, but his control has been terrible with a 1.75 K/BB ratio. Locating his pitches has been Gee’s problem. On Friday night, he left a changeup up in the zone, which was then crushed into the centerfield stands. These are the types of things that Gee has to watch out for, he can only get away with low velocities if he can locate his pitches and keep them down. If he leaves pitches up, they’re going to be crushed. As long as he can learn to compensate for his low velocities by keeping his pitches down and locating them effectively, he will be fine.