The case for Rafael Montero over Dillon Gee

Rafael MonteroMatt Harvey is a star, someone who should be in the rotation as long as he’s healthy. Dillon Gee is a placeholder, a competent MLB pitcher who should be in the rotation until someone better comes along. Gee has done a fine job for the Mets, making 103 starts for the club. We should salute his efforts for the team the past four-plus seasons. However, just because he has been useful in the past should not guarantee him a job in the immediate future.

In an injury-plagued campaign last year, Gee posted a 4.00 ERA and an 87 ERA+, which among National League pitchers made him an SP4. There were 78 pitchers in the league last year who pitched at least 90 innings and breaking those down into groups of 15, here are our rankings based solely on ERA:

SP1 – 1.77-2.83
SP2 – 2.85-3.40
SP3 – 3.44-3.70
SP4 – 3.71-4.10
SP5 – 4.18-5.38

On the surface, it seems if you have a SP4 as your fifth starter, you’re doing pretty good. However, not all mediocre pitchers are created equal. While Gee, Dan Haren and Kyle Kendrick all had below-average results for starters over the 162-game season, how they got there was a bit different.

Haren got off to a great start last year, as he posted a 2.84 ERA over his first eight starts. For the rest of the year, Haren notched a 4.46 ERA over 24 starts. Meanwhile Kendrick’s best eight-game stretch, which occurred in the middle of the year, produced a 3.69 ERA and overall he had a 4.61 ERA.

Last year Gee had a 2.73 ERA through his first eight starts before hitting the DL with a lat injury, which sidelined him for two months. His first start back was a continuation of his fine pitching from earlier in the season, as he allowed just 1 ER in 7 IP. But in his final 13 starts of the season, Gee had a 5.10 ERA in 77.2 IP.

So, he had nine consecutive starts where he pitched like an SP1 followed up by 13 consecutive starts where he pitched like an SP5, despite a perfectly average .301 BABIP. And before you think he was pitching while injured, here’s what Marc Carig of Newsday reported last September:

“Right now, the word that comes to mind is frustrating,” said Gee, who noted he was healthy in the second half. “I’ve been very inconsistent, with the injury and everything that we went through. This whole year leaves a sour taste in my mouth.”

This Jekyll and Hyde routine is nothing new for Gee.

In 2013, his first 12 starts of the year he had a 5.20 ERA and followed up with a 2.87 ERA over his final 20 starts. In 2011, he had a 2.86 ERA in his first 13 starts and a 5.51 ERA over his final 17 games. Even in 2012, in what might be termed his most consistent year, Gee had a 5.44 ERA over his first eight starts and a 3.00 ERA over his final nine games of the year before having his season end with an injury.

One can argue that this bi-polar pitching is what separates the end-of-the-rotation guys from the All-Stars. But the question that is relevant for the 2015 Mets is: Why give 30 starts to a guy you know is going to produce SP5 numbers for at least two consecutive months of the season?

Let’s say the good Gee shows up in the first half of 2015 and the Mets are battling for a playoff spot. And then he rips off an eight-game stretch of lousy pitching like 2012 or a 12-game stretch like 2013 or a 13-game stretch like in 2014 or a 17-game stretch like he had in 2011. Can you see the Mets making the necessary move to yank Gee for a rookie in August with the playoffs on the line? Especially since the Mets have the veteran-loving Terry Collins at the helm?

At this point in time, you know what you’re going to get with Gee. You’ll get stretches of brilliance combined with streaks of crappiness that has an upside of SP3 and the more-likely result of an SP4. If you were to put his expected full-season outlook into odds, a reasonable forecast would be:

SP1 – 0
SP2 – 2%
SP3 – 15%
SP4 – 60%
SP5 – 20%
Worse – 3%

All four of the projection systems currently available on FanGraphs place Gee with an ERA between 4.11 and 4.29, which straddles the line between SP4 and SP5.

This is acceptable production if you don’t have anything better. But in Rafael Montero, the Mets have what appears to be a reasonable alternative. As a rookie, Montero does not have much of an MLB track record to examine. So let’s look at his Triple-A results. There have been 13 pitchers for the Mets in Las Vegas to throw at least 68 innings over the past two years. Here they are broken down by ERA:

Pitcher ERA IP
Montero 3.31 168.2
Collin McHugh 3.69 100
Jacob deGrom 3.87 114
Carlos Torres 3.89 71.2
Zack Wheeler 3.93 68.2
Logan Verrett 4.33 162
Matt Fox 4.59 111.2
Noah Syndergaard 4.60 133
Ryan Reid 4.91 69.2
Carlos Alvarado 5.71 143.1
Chris Schwinden 5.78 146.1
Greg Peavey 7.59 91.1
D.J. Mitchell 7.67 85.2

Montero has pitched more innings than any other pitcher for the Mets in Las Vegas and he has the best ERA among the 13 pitchers who’ve logged the most innings, a sample size picked specifically to include Wheeler. Simply put, Montero doesn’t have anything left to prove in Triple-A, where his numbers have been better than two guys who garnered attention in the Rookie of the Year balloting last year.

In his first exposure to MLB last year, Montero was not good. For whatever reason, his pinpoint control was missing and he gave up an obscene amount of homers for his innings pitched. He was sent back to the minors after posting a 5.40 ERA in 20 IP. When Montero returned in August, he put up a 2.96 ERA in 24.1 IP, despite flip-flopping between starting and relieving and going long stretches between outings.

If Syndergaard had put up the exact same season Montero did last year, everyone would talk about how he overcame a rough start to turn things around. But with Montero, all we hear about is small samples and strength of competition. Given his success in Las Vegas, which tiny sample do you think is more indicative of Montero’s likely MLB value? Do you think he’s more likely to allow a homer every four innings and give up five walks per game like he did in his first stretch? If so, that seems like an incredibly pessimistic view to me.

So, let’s say that you’re feeling generous and that you’re willing to write off Montero’s first four MLB games to nerves. What do you think about his second stint in the majors? He posted a 2.96 ERA with a .323 BABIP while giving up three homers in 24 IP. And even though his walks were essentially the same as they were in the first stint he took a big step forward.

What would your opinion of Montero be if he didn’t pitch in the majors in May and the only thing you had to go by were his Triple-A numbers in Las Vegas and what he did in his last six appearances with the Mets? Wouldn’t that look like a top prospect pitching exactly how you hoped/expected from him?

And do you really want to have Gee keep a top prospect from making 30 starts this year when the Mets are hoping for a playoff appearance?

Montero’s first four starts were worse, but in the same ballpark, as Gee’s last 13 starts of 2014. The difference is that those starts were out of character for Montero while Gee’s pitching at the end of last year was no different than what he’s done in similar stretches each of his full seasons in the majors.

If you had to pick a pitcher to put up eight consecutive starts with an ERA north of 5.00 the obvious choice would be Gee.

The Mets should put Montero in the rotation right from the start in 2015. And if in any eight-game stretch he posts an ERA in the neighborhood of what Gee did when he was healthy at the end of last year, the Mets can yank him and put the veteran in his place. That’s a move none of us should have trouble envisioning Collins doing.

Having a guy forecasted to put up a 4.18 ERA as your fifth starter is far from the worst thing in the world. But ZiPS, the same system that projects that mark from Gee, projects a 3.63 mark from Montero. Using the breakdowns mentioned earlier, that makes Gee a top flight SP5 and Montero a low-end SP3.

In a year where you hope to make the playoffs if everything breaks right, why make the path to success harder by choosing an SP5 over an SP3? The risk with Gee is that he pitches terrible for half the year and you don’t have the courage to remove him because he’s a veteran. You don’t have that issue with Montero.

Because he hasn’t had much success in the majors, conventional wisdom is that Montero’s floor is worse than Gee’s in terms of 2015 success with the Mets. For the sake of argument, let’s agree on that statement. At the same time Montero has more upside, which he reaches if he has a normal HR rate and if he returns to his typical walk rates. Those are far from given but in Spring Training this year he hasn’t allowed a homer and has given up 2 BB in 8 IP over three appearances.

The case for Gee is that he has had stretches of success in the majors, as recently as his first nine starts of 2014. Additionally, no one will criticize you for going with a veteran.

The case for Montero is that he’s a better pitcher. His minor league track record is far superior to Gee’s, who had a 4.76 ERA over 221.1 innings in the friendlier pitching environment in Buffalo. Non-biased projection systems in ZiPS and Steamer both see Montero being better in 2015. Also, his rookie status makes removing him if he bombs a much easier proposition than doing likewise with Gee. It may seem like a weird thing to list as an advantage but I’d rather have the guy you know will be gone if he stinks in eight starts compared to the guy you know they will keep pitching, even if he bombs in 15 straight.

The bottom line for me is you choose Gee if your main concern is eliminating second guessing and you pick Montero if your main concern is maximizing the value of the 2015 season. Let’s see which one Collins and the Mets pick.

40 comments for “The case for Rafael Montero over Dillon Gee

  1. March 29, 2015 at 9:34 am

    It’s sad but didn’t our number 1 pitcher (Colon) pitch to a 4 ERA as well last year? Before Wheeler went down Colon this year would of been a 4th starter at best behind Harvey, Wheeler and deGrom. Serviceable should not be the norm if there are better options within the organization. Montero is a better option.

    • TexasGusCC
      March 29, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Pete, he’s not #1, he’s just starting the first game because it matches up better with the schedule. He will then face Atlanta, instead of having Harvey or deGrom face them, then you have Harvey, deGrom and Niese facing the Phillies at home (two sell outs and a lefty facing the Phillies), then you have four righties facing the Marlins. It does make sense. Further, it allows Harvey and deGrom to pitch in the Bronx. Tell me your not just dying to see that? I wish it was tomorrow.

      Of course, they better keep to this despite rainouts…

      • March 29, 2015 at 12:03 pm

        He’s just getting paid like a number one. I do get it Gus with the match ups. I agree with that part. Besides It’s only the first week of the season. So we shall see

        • Za
          March 29, 2015 at 1:56 pm

          He’s getting paid like a #4 – #1s make 2.5 to 3 times what he’s making. Calm down. He’s also already “covered” more than 2/3rds of his contract through his performance last year and has been a notable mentor to Harvey, deGrom, Mejía, Familia, etc.

          • March 30, 2015 at 12:46 am

            But Za you’re assuming the Mets pay their players like most major league teams. I agree a number one starter makes a helluva lot more than 12 million. But these are the poor Mets. While all 30 teams get equal shares in the new national television contracts, the Mets may have been the only team last year that “Cut” their payroll. Before Wheeler went down Colon would have ranked 4th just ahead of Gee or Montero. So he’s earned his contract? And? That’s just a business side of a 2 year deal which Alderson can justify his signing of Colon. Doesn’t do anything to add or diminish where he is today as a starter for the Mets. Question for you Za. If the Mets packaged Colon and another player for an upgrade at SS would you make the deal? I know I would. The Mets have the starting pitchers in Vegas ready to fill in. What if Montero and Syndergaard combine to give the Mets 14 wins? Makes you wonder why they spent all that money on Colon. By the way his ERA was one run higher moving from the AL to the NL. Amazing!

  2. March 29, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I like Gee, but I would certainly give Montero a shot in the rotation first. But I’d say we can all agree that, when in doubt, Collins will always go to the veteran first. There seems to be a lot of friction between him and the front office these days, though. Not quite sure if that will translate to the FO forcing his hand more than they seem to have in the past. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

    • March 29, 2015 at 10:39 am

      Terry does exactly what he’s told to do. To believe anything else is to think that Sandy Alderson is totally inept and incompetent as a GM.

      • March 29, 2015 at 11:54 am

        Are you suggesting that a GM that gives some level of autonomy to his manager in whom to play is inept and incompetent in his job? Or that this applies in this specific situation with Alderson and Collins?

        I don’t agree with the former, but that latter could be the case in this situation. Especially with the aforementioned friction.

        • March 29, 2015 at 12:33 pm

          I am speaking specifically to Alderson & Collins. It’s well documented that Alderson perceives that the manager functions as middle management, there to execute the vision of upper management. That’s why he hired TC in the first place, and extended him twice. Terry does what he’s told and, from SA’s point of view, he’s not terribly important anyway.

          I am saying that, IMO, there is no way in the world that TC remotely makes significant decisions about anything. Sure, SA gives him a little line here and there, he doesn’t micromanage every detail, but there’s no question who is the boss in NY. An autonomous, maverick, free-thinking manager could never thrive under Sandy Alderson; that’s just the way it is. Sandy is ex-military. He likes a clear chain of command. Personally, I think TC is a maddening near-moron, but he’s Sandy’s minion all the way.

    • The Dim
      March 29, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      Though I believe that Montero, might be able to do a much better job then Gee, but, if Gee, starts with a 7-2 after 15 games, with a 3.25 ERA, he will have abetter trade value, at the trade deadline. Specially after we gave our #1 pick for the upcoming draft. We can get 2 good minor leaguers, from any team looking for pitching then if Montero starts, an Gee were to be in the bullpen.

      • March 29, 2015 at 11:06 pm

        I agree. I think Gee will start to boost his trade value, and to save a few extra innings on Montero’s arm. I think it’s 80% likely that Montero takes over for Gee at some point, probably after May. But I don’t see a big advantage to him starting the year in the rotation.

        • March 30, 2015 at 8:37 am

          I don’t get this.

          So, if Gee goes on one of his runs and starts pitching like he did in the beginning of 2014 – why would you trade him when you’re shooting for the playoffs? What possible situation exists that Gee improves his trade value during the season and the Mets want to trade him?

  3. March 29, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I like Gee, and despite the quote via Carig, where Gee refused to make excuses, it was obvious that his season was derailed by injury. So any amount of stats don’t really resonate with me.

    He’s good; he’s not great.

    This winter, I was one of the few people here and elsewhere expressing my concern about the frailty of the bullpen. (I’m worried about Familia’s health, too, btw.) It’s been my opinion that Montero could become a key figure for the NY Mets in 2015 — in the bullpen. It’s not a punishment, it’s not a snub. I honestly think that’s where he can help the Mets the most this season.

    I think he’s better suited to the pen than Gee, that’s for sure.

    So that’s it: I think the Mets need a strong performance from Montero this year — in the bullpen.

    If the particular pieces were different, if the assets were rearranged, on another team Montero could easily be a starter in 2015. But for these Mets — with Matz & Syndergaard also in the wings — with a bullpen that looks leaky — I have no problem with Montero coming out of the pen and helping the Mets win games in that role. It’s where we need him.

    • March 29, 2015 at 10:51 am

      I don’t believe in putting the cart before the horse. You assemble your starters and then you assemble your bullpen. You don’t put a guy in the bullpen because he’ll be good in that role. The ’84 Mets didn’t put Gooden in the bullpen (where he would have been great) to keep Craig Swan in the rotation. They put Swan in the bullpen and when he wasn’t any good they replaced him.

      This is nothing against Gee – this is all about assembling the team that gives them the best shot to win in 2015. Limiting Montero’s role for a likely inferior pitcher doesn’t achieve that objective.

      • March 29, 2015 at 12:46 pm

        The bullpen is really important. If you find someone who can do that job, you’ve found an extremely valuable player. The Mets have a clear need back there.

        I think you just need to be patient with Montero, let’s see what he can do in the pen, and watch how things develop with the starters. It’s a fluid situation.

        I don’t believe in the cart/horse metaphor — plenty of teams thrive by having great pitchers in the pen — nor do I find the Craig Swan comparison particularly compelling. Swan was a great, great starter who couldn’t stay healthy. Rick Aquilera might be a closer comp, though Rick’s path traveled from backend starter to relief ace, a role in which he ultimately became a three-time All Star.

        Hey, it’s an interesting topic for discussion. I still think Montero controls his own fate.

        • March 29, 2015 at 1:40 pm

          Dillon Gee is a mediocre starter who can’t stay healthy. Why is he given preference over a guy who all indications is his superior?

          • Za
            March 29, 2015 at 2:24 pm

            I’d go a step further, trading Gee for a reliever.

            • March 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm

              There was speculation that a Rex Brothers-Gee trade was discussed this offseason. That seems like one which would have been good for both teams. But the Rockies have Kyle Kendrick now and all I can say is good luck with that, Colorado.

  4. TexasGusCC
    March 29, 2015 at 11:35 am

    I mostly agree with Brian, but have a little hesitation going all in because I feel Montero hasn’t learned to put MLB hitters away, and thus runs high pitch counts per inning making him a five to six innings guy right now. Therefore, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the bullpen for about a month either.

    Came across this article the other day, and gave it a read.

    http://www.amazinavenue.com/2015/3/27/8299739/mets-dillon-gee-projection-new-york-rotation

    • Za
      March 29, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      “I mostly agree with Brian, but have a little hesitation going all in because I feel Montero hasn’t learned to put MLB hitters away”

      Reading that, it would make sense to me to have Montero face more Major League batters in order for him to develop that skill. Let’s face it – you develop more quickly pitching 5 or 6 innings in a row, facing 20-30 guys in one shot than only get a chance to face 3 or 4 guys at a time.

      • TexasGusCC
        March 29, 2015 at 3:15 pm

        how do you explain the organizations that introduce kids to the majors in the bullpen to break them in slowly? Just thinking both sides

  5. Joe Gomes
    March 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    That is easy. If it is up to Collins, aka “The Imbecile” he will go with Gee because he always goes with the veteran. The only way Montero starts is if Sandy tells Collins to.

    If they go on talent, Montero starts.
    If they go on upside, Montero starts.
    If they go on future with the team, Montero starts because Gee won’t be with the team in 2016 and will be traded some time this year.
    If you go by the logic of what is more valuable, is the potential return for Gee on a trade more valuable to the team than developing another #3 type or better starter?
    If we go by history, deGrom was considered a BP arm last year and only got the opportunity becuase Gee was hurt and Montero pitched poorly. Look what happened. I am not saying Montero will be better than deGrom, but he had better numbers thrught out the minor leagues.

    But as I have said before, Flores will NEVER get a fair chance as long as Tejada is around and Montero will not start as long as Collins is the manager.

    There is a reason why the Mets have not won in so long. They keep hiring idiots to manage the team. Collins who quit on teams, Manuel the Gangsta, Art Howe, etc.

    When the Mets have had a better manager, they have done a lot better. Davey Johnson, Bobby Valentine and even Randolf.

    But it seems that winning is second to having someone to blame when the sh!t hits the fan.

  6. March 29, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    And if Randolph had not listened to that gangsta Manuel he would probably be still managing the Mets with a WS ring to show for it. I actually met Randolph one day in Oakland New Jersey after the Mets fired him.He was still wearing his Met cap!

  7. brian
    March 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    The Mets are not sure what they have in Montero as a Major League pitcher. They do know what they have in Gee. I am not always in favor of putting a starter in the bullpen but in this instance I am. If he proves he is better than Gee by mid-season this allows you to trade Gee and move Montero to starting with confidence. There is also the possibility they are both successful and both build trade value. I am sure there will also be spot starts for Montero.

  8. Name
    March 29, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Here are some of my thoughts against Montero.

    If the goal is to use both as SP:
    While it may or may not be the case that Montero needs more seasoning in the minors, relatively speaking, it would make less sense to send Gee down, as there’s certainly nothing for him to gain from going there.
    Montero in the minors would not damage his trade value. However, teams are not going to look favorably on a veteran pitcher in the minors (see John Lannan)

    If one is going to start and the other ends up in the pen:
    A similar argument can be made as above. Developmental, Gee has less to benefit than Montero in the pen and Teams are once again more likely to look unfavorably on a team that picks the rookie over a veteran, because that’s usually a red flag that something is wrong (either ineffective or injured).

    ” The difference is that those starts were out of character for Montero ”
    -I don’t really agree with this statement. There’s a reason one league is called the minor leagues and the other is the major leagues. There’s a huge talent gap between the two and you should always take what you see in the minors with a grain of salt. Using the same argument, Brown and Flores should be superstars in the majors.

    Basically, it comes down to risk. Do you want the guy who will reliably give you back end production or the guy who has a chance of being a top pitcher, but also has a chance of costing you wins.
    Most postseason hopeful teams usually choose the former.

    • March 29, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      At no point should our goal be to use Gee as a SP. Our goal is to have 5 SP better than Gee.

      I want to win games – I really don’t care about building or maintaining the trade value of Gee. If Sandy wanted to trade him, he both could have and should have done it this offseason when he was offered a pre-arb player at least as good as Tejada.

      For four years in a row, Gee has put up extended stretches of crappy pitching. There’s no reason not to expect that to continue. If a rookie pitcher did that, he would be removed. Why is it the end of the world if Montero has four bad starts but business as usual if Gee has 13?

      I refuse to believe that your tolerance for risk is so low that any player already in the majors is a preferable option to any guy in the minors. Especially one who pitched as poorly for the majority of the year as Gee last year.

      No matter how you try to justify it, there’s no non-salary reason to keep 24-year-old Montero, with 235.1 IP of strong pitching at the upper levels of the minors in the bullpen so Gee can start.

      I know you’ve read the posts about the air that you need to take out of the hitting stats in Vegas. Once you do that neither Brown nor Flores is a star. This is just being argumentative.

      • brian
        March 29, 2015 at 2:11 pm

        Steady big fella. At this moment Gee is the better option for the 5th starter. Montero did not show he was ready to be a Major League starter last season. Just because the Mets start with Gee as a starter and Montero in the bullpen does not mean that will be for the whole season. Montero in the bullpen gives him a chance too mature without risking his value (unless he implodes). Gee is competent when healthy. This is the right move.

        • March 29, 2015 at 2:18 pm

          You state things as fact that are not. What proof do you have that Gee is the better option?

          Montero proved he wasn’t ready in May and was rightfully sent back to the minors. When he came back he was a much better pitcher and put up stats much more in line with his minor league track record. And that guy is better than Gee.

          Why do you think Montero needs to mature?

          • Name
            March 29, 2015 at 3:02 pm

            Ignoring the fact that they are small sample sizes, the underlying stats show much cause for concern.

            First taste: 20 IP 17ks, 11 bb
            Second callup: 24 IP 25ks, 12 bb

            Not much different and why you shouldn’t be fooled by that shiny second callup ERA

            • March 29, 2015 at 3:16 pm

              Without question he needs to improve on his walks allowed.

              But I would say that going from a 7.65 K/9 to a 9.38 K/9 was a nice improvement. And going from a 1.55 K/BB ratio to a 2.08 K/BB ratio was a step in the right direction, too.

              I’d like to see his K/BB ratio be at least 2.50 in a full season. FWIW, Gee’s was 2.19 last year.

          • James Preller
            March 29, 2015 at 3:42 pm

            Brian, you are surprisingly vehement on this issue. It’s weird, a little. There’s no “proof” that Montero will be better than Gee for half a season in 2015. It’s opinion.

            Until he got hurt, Dillon Gee was the best starting pitcher on the Mets last year. His ERA was under 2.50. Only 1/4 of the season, yet, but more meaningful, I think, than Montero’s final two starts of the year.

            Also, you discount the bullpen effectiveness issue completely, and I don’t think that maximizes the Mets resources. Right now, they have two pitchers, Gee and Montero. It strikes me as very reasonable to believe that together they will cumulatively be most effective as currently deployed. If not, the Mets will make a switch. Again, I think Montero could be a real asset in the bullpen to help the Mets win games. I’m not seeing the crime.

            From what I can tell, Mets management seems higher on Matz and Syndergaard than Montero — so he might as well get used to the pen for now.

            Lastly, about trading Gee for a reliever. Sure, fine. But it didn’t happen, and we don’t know if it was ever available. We can only address how to use the players the Mets currently have. And we know that Sandy does not like to make trades for Major League players. It’s not something he does. Gee has value as insurance, and his value should rise if he shows himself to be fully healthy. As a backend starter, he’s very good.

            • March 29, 2015 at 4:17 pm

              When you see something that flies in the face of logic and reason, the correct response is not, “Oh well…”

              I will be unflinching in my support of Montero over Gee, just like I was unflinching in my disapproval of carrying a crappy reliever just because he throws with his left hand or just like I was that Wheeler was an asset in games when he went 6.1 IP and allowed just 1 ER or just like I was with the belief that all Duda needed was to be named the first baseman and left alone.

              With all due respect, you’re the one who’s staking out a questionable position. You’re saying that the pitcher Gee was in the first 8 starts of 2014 is a reasonable outcome for him in 2015 and that the reason he didn’t do that last year was because of the injury. This despite the fact that Gee himself said the injury was not a factor. And sure, we all know that pitchers lie about their health all of the time. Still, the fact remains that what Gee produced in 2014 (4.00 ERA) was nearly identical to his career mark (3.91 ERA).

              As for the bullpen, I have no doubt that Montero would be better than Gee in the bullpen — because he’s a better pitcher. And simply, that is not a good reason to put him there. If a pitcher is capable of pitching 6 or more innings at a time, he should be a starter unless there are five guys on the team better than him.

              Montero, in his first exposure to the majors and pitching worse than expected, put up a 3.98 ERA as a starter last year. Gee, pitching pretty much like we would expect him to, put up nearly an identical number. Gee’s career year in ERA is what the projection systems think Montero will produce in his first full year in the majors.

              Montero was promoted to Las Vegas on 6/15/13 and his first four starts there he allowed 12 ER in 18.1 IP for a 5.89 ERA. After that point he adjusted to be the best pitcher the Mets have had in Vegas, even including that poor stretch. Why should we think he can make adjustments in Las Vegas but not in MLB? And we’ve already seen that he improved in K/9 and HR/9 from May to Aug/Sep in the majors. Now he has to improve that walk rate.

      • Name
        March 29, 2015 at 2:25 pm

        I disagree with your philosophical view that trade value doesn’t matter. The upside of Montero in 2015 isn’t worth damaging Gee’s trade value. Montero will get his turn and he’ll likely end up making a significant number of starts in 2015 anyways.

        “I want to win games – I really don’t care about building or maintaining the trade value of Gee”

        If this is the case, then you’re looking up the wrong tree. The guy who should (have been) booted is Bartolo Colon.

        Beg of season: 8 starts, 5.76 ERA
        Middle of season: 7 starts, 1.58 ERA
        End of season: 16 starts, 4.51 ERA

        If you split it by month, he had 1 great month (June), one ok month (July) and 4 crappy months

        • March 29, 2015 at 2:32 pm

          It’s not that trade value doesn’t matter — it’s the specific case of the trade value of Dillon Gee that doesn’t matter.

          And I agree that Montero deserves the spot over Colon, too. But we both know he’s ahead of Gee in the team’s pecking order.

    • Za
      March 29, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      “Using the same argument, Brown and Flores should be superstars in the majors.”

      This is terrible logic, unless you think Gee is a “superstar”. Brian is arguing that Montero, a guy with a tremendous minor league record, prospect pedigree, and glowing scouting reports, will be at least slightly better than our worst starting pitcher moving forward. You’re comment clearly implies that you believe Brian thinks Montero will be better than Harvey, which is a complete misinterpretation.

  9. Metsense
    March 29, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Great thread and posts !
    I think this issue needed to be addressed during the winter when Sandy should have been more aggressive in the trade market packaging some pitching to enhance other positions on the team. Sitting tight did not get us any closer to the Nats.
    Gee is a better pitcher than Colon at this stage of his career and Montero is better than both because he can produce at least equal to Gee and Colon, and has a higher ceiling and is controllable longer. Sandy’s malaise seems to be costing Montero a chance. Sandy has painted himself in a corner (similar to the Duda/Davis situation) and in order not to lose value on either Gee or Colon he has to pitch them. (and let’s hope they do well so as not to lose value).By the time Gee or Colon are moved, Syndergaard or Matz should be ready. I think it is a real raw deal for Montero but I think Jim Preller makes a valid point about putting Montero in the bullpen because that is where he will probably end up. If Montero goes to the bullpen, I hope the Mets try to groom his as a late inning set up man and not a junk inning long reliever but I get this feeling that TC will bury him in that long relief role.
    IMHO I would have constructed this team so that Montero would be starting.

  10. NYM6986
    March 30, 2015 at 7:09 am

    It is clear that by placing Montero in the pen, the Mets will give him a shot when any if the bottom three – Colon, Niese or Gee falter. With Montero not in Vegas it gives some if their other AAA pitchers a chance to continue to develop like the kid who came up the other day that no one ever heard of and threw 4 strong innings. At this point why agonize on the woulda coulda shoulda and let the season start. We know what we have in pitching the key is whether our bats will remotely resemble how we are hitting in ST!!

    • March 30, 2015 at 8:39 am

      And would you treat Syndergaard and Matz the same way?

  11. Chris F
    March 30, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    First impressions are hard to break. I also seem to recall that Montero did not look all that sharp in ST last year, while deGrom did. I think the prospect rankings are highly suspect, and the numbers do in fact give an impression of the player, but hardly result in anything sure fire. What does the old adage tell us? Take three top prospects, one will succeed, one will fail, and last succumbs to injury or something. Top prospects dont necessarily live up to the billing in the bigs. I think one of the reasons is that the gap between AAA and the Show is fantastically bigger than any minor league jump. Might Montero succeed? Sure. He had a rough start, and that for sure stuck with management. Is Gee some sort of super hero? No. But he is a solid veteran that knows the game. Id be happy with either in the rotation.

  12. Matt Netter
    March 30, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Montero reminds me of Ramon Martinez. He deserves a shot.

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