Is Dillon Gee’s fast start like his big 2013 finish?

Dillon GeeDillon Gee was masterful Sunday afternoon against the Marlins. He became the first Mets pitcher in 2014 to complete eight innings as he hurled eight scoreless frames in the team’s 4-0 win. With the outing, Gee lowered his ERA for the year to 2.88 and in six games this season, he’s hurled four quality starts.

It’s quite a difference from how he began 2013. In five April starts last year, Gee was 1-4 with a 5.96 ERA and only one QS. And while Gee’s production is completely different from the start of last year, it’s not so different from how he finished the 2013 season.

Gee bottomed out last year in late May, when he got knocked around by the Braves. That dropped his record to 2-6 and his ERA ballooned to 6.34 in 49.2 IP. Just when it seemed like he was on the verge of being booted from the rotation, Gee ripped off one of the best starts of his career, as he limited the Yankees to just 1 ER in 7.1 IP. As if that wasn’t enough, Gee recorded 12 strikeouts in that performance.

From that Yankees game until the end of the year, Gee had a 2.71 ERA and a 1.132 WHIP in 149.1 IP. Flash forward to 2014 and Gee sits with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.008 WHIP. While it seems that he’s the same pitcher that he was over 75% of 2013, a deeper look into the numbers shows that’s not exactly true. He had a better K/BB ratio to finish the 2013 season, as he had a 3.5 mark in his big finish. This year Gee is not striking out nearly as many batters and therefore has a 27/13 ratio, just barely over a 2.0 rate.

The gopher ball plagued Gee in his first three starts of the season, as he surrendered 5 HR in 19.2 IP. However, in his last three starts, Gee has not given up a homer in 21 IP. It works out to an essentially normal HR rate, with just a 0.04 difference between his FIP and xFIP.

Gee’s problem is the difference between his FIP and ERA. While he has a sparkling 2.88 ERA, his FIP is a much more pedestrian 4.32 mark. Gee has an unsustainable 82.4 strand rate and batters have just a .202 BABIP against him so far this year. Combined with his ho-hum K/BB ratio, it’s easy to see he’s been pitching much better than his peripherals.

It’s doubtful any of us expected Gee to put up a sub-3.00 ERA over a full season here in 2014. But the question is if Gee can continue to beat his peripherals to any significant extent. Lifetime, his ERA is about 1/3 of a run less than his FIP, which certainly gives hope. We know that regression is going to hit but it sure would be nice if his ERA didn’t fall all the way to his current FIP.

Gee continuing to out pitch his peripherals would help in two distinct ways. First, it would help the Mets here in 2014. And second, it would likely help his trade value, either at the deadline or in the offseason. It’s the big dream of a lot of Mets fans that they are going to be able to flip Bartolo Colon for something worthwhile before the end of his contract. But the simple fact is that a pitcher in his 20s like Gee is going to be more desirable to other clubs.

Colon’s presence for the duration of his contract makes trading a Gee a little easier for the Mets to swallow. By the end of 2015, Matt Harvey should be back at full strength and hopefully Noah Syndergaard and/or Rafael Montero will be ready for a prime time slot.

But that’s all ahead of us right now. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the work that Gee is delivering for the 2014 club. While he doesn’t have lightning in his arm, he’s still getting fantastic results. To see him gut out the eighth inning today was a lot of fun, with Anthony Recker getting a big assist in pulling him through to record two strikeouts in his final inning of work.

Perhaps Gee is destined to be a guy who we recall more fondly than what the cold, hard numbers will tell future fans down the road. There’s no shame in that. Maybe Gee takes his place with other guys in Mets history like Pat Zachry or Walt Terrell or Jae Seo. And if we flip him for this generation’s Howard Johnson, that would be a nice legacy, too.

13 comments for “Is Dillon Gee’s fast start like his big 2013 finish?

  1. Jim OMalley
    April 28, 2014 at 7:35 am

    interesting….what’s his contact status?

    • Chris F
      April 28, 2014 at 7:40 am

      He becomes arb eligible next year, and a free agent in 2017. He has a shade over 3 yrs of service time. Presently making 3.6M$.

  2. Metsense
    April 28, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Of the 76 NL starters that have thrown at least 10 innings, Gee ranks 30th with a 2.88 ERA ,53rd with a 4.31 FIP ,and 56th with A 0.1 WAR 56. In 2013 he ranked 42 in ERA and 52 in FIP of the 76 starting NL pitchers that threw at least 70 innings. Gee is a solid middle of the rotation NL starter.
    I don’t think there are many in baseball who are overly impressed by Gee. Eventually there will be 5 other Met starters that others will be more impressed with. Gee is the kind of pitcher that will allow the more “impressive” pitchers to be traded for greater return talent while Gee will remain in the Met rotation as the consistent hidden gem. I can see Gee as the Mets future #5 starter because of the anticipated pitching depth but in comparison with the rest of the National League starting pitchers he is a #3.
    The Mets have three more years of control on Gee, with next winter being his second year of arbitration. It may be prudent to offer Gee an extension similar to Niese’s 5 years and two option years. It would lock him up at a reasonable rate and make him even more attractive and increase his value if the Mets were to trade him in the future.

    • Chris F
      April 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Ill tell ya what Metsense…I really like that idea, and your logic string.

    • April 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      In 13 career starts against the Nationals, Gee is 7-3 with a 3.23 ERA. I bet they are impressed with him.

      In 12 starts against the Braves, he’s 4-4 with a 2.95 ERA. How many active guys with 10+ starts have an ERA below 3 against Atlanta? Turns out there’s only four with a better mark than Gee. I bet ATL is impressed.

      In 5 games against the Marlins, he’s 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA.

      He’s been extremely good against 3 of the 4 East rivals. Your overall point that his presence may allow them to trade a more-heralded guy is one that I agree with but the idea that he hasn’t impressed others is one that I dispute.

      • Chris F
        April 28, 2014 at 4:49 pm

        I think Metsense may have meant the chatterati and the press. I listen and watch a fair bit of MLB tv and radio and Gee almost never gets mentioned. No doubt the NL East knows who Gee is!

    • Joe Vasile
      April 28, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      He also ranks 12th in RA9-WAR, which is my preferred method of pitcher WAR (that FG supplies) because it uses RA/9 instead of FIP – effectively measuring what the the pitcher’s real value has been.

  3. Patrick Albanesius
    April 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Not a bad plan Metsense.

  4. Jim OMalley
    April 28, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    How exciting this all is…It’s great to have wealth. Lets hope we continue to experience reasonably good health and don’t encounter any mores Harveyesque devastating losses.

  5. steevy
    April 28, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Off topic but interesting.SNY showing the game from 91 where Cone struck out 19.Frank Cashen in the booth asked about the Dykstra trade and Cashen said the Phillies offered to trade Dykstra back after the 90 season.He said the mistake wasn’t in trading him but in not getting him back.

  6. Captain America
    April 29, 2014 at 6:59 am

    Makes no sense.

    You keep gee and trade a shiny new toy like degrom or Montero.

    Or you flip colon.

    • April 29, 2014 at 8:46 am

      It makes perfect sense.

      Arizona wanted Montero and Plawecki for a SS who has no record of extended hitting in either the majors or minors. You don’t trade away talent for that little of a return. And how many people do you think are clamoring for a SP on the wrong side of 40 who’s owed $10 million in 2015?

      As a cost-controlled pitcher in his 20s with a track record of success in the majors, Gee is a desirable commodity.

      • Jerry Grote
        April 29, 2014 at 9:15 am

        Tail of two Trevors …

        Veteran, cheap Cahill (=Gee? feh, maybe) brought back Parker, Cook and Cowgill. I think that’s a fair comp.

        OTOH, moving Bauer (with some odds and ends) brought back a top 50ish SS prospect. But again, Bauer (drafted 3rd overall)> Montero, maybe equal to Syndergaard at that time.

        Central theme to the story (other than Dbacks =?WTH), is that you can get back value in either direction and I think the guy you trade speaks to more about how you feel about the likely standard deviation in your current rotation.

        I wouldn’t trade Gee. You have ? at Niese and Mejia, and down the road with Harvey. Trade the standard deviation and keep the steady Eddie.

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