In his fifth start in the majors, Dillon Gee hurled his fifth straight Quality Start (QS), although he came away with a loss Thursday night against the Brewers. Gee threw 6 IP and gave up 2 ER. Here are his numbers for each start for the Mets:
7.0 IP 1 ER
6.0 IP 0 ER
7.0 IP 3 ER
7.0 IP 2 ER
6.0 IP 2 ER
That’s 8 ER in 33 IP for a sparkling 2.18 ERA for Gee.
I like Quality Starts because it shows a pitcher who gives his team a chance to win. There are critics who dismiss the stat because a pitcher can qualify for a QS with a 4.50 ERA if they just meet the minimum qualification. This is true, although it happens far less often than people think.
This year there have been 2,525 QS through games of September 29 and only 219 of those were of the 6 IP, 3 ER variety, which works out to 8.67 percent. Back in the early 90s, David R. Smith took eight years worth of data (1984-1991) and found that only 5.7 percent of QS fit the minimum requirements.
If we take those 2,525 QS, we see that pitchers this year combined for a 1380-472 record (.745) with a 1.98 ERA. Furthermore, in 17,407 IP our pitchers have 4,604 BB and 13,324 Ks. That works out to a 6.89 K/9, 2.38 BB/9 and a 2.89 K/BB ratio.
So, how does Gee measure up?
He has a 2-2 record (.500) with a 2.18 ERA. He has 15 BB and 17 Ks in 33 IP for a 4.64 K/9, a 4.09 BB/9 and a 1.13 K/BB ratio.
Gee’s strikeout and walk numbers hardly seem elite and they fall far short of the combined numbers of those who have hurled QS this year. The bottom line is that while the QS are impressive, they do not tell the entire story.
If we look at Gee’s ERA estimators, we see that his poor strikeout and walk numbers do not come close to matching his actual ERA. He has a 4.32 FIP and a 5.03 xFIP, which should be sobering numbers for anyone counting on Gee to hold down a rotation slot for the 2011 Mets.
I like Gee. I had him ranked as the team’s number 10 prospect (ahead of both Brad Holt and Jeurys Familia) heading into this year. But the Mets should not be counting on him to fill a rotation slot for 2011. Gee should be rotation depth in Buffalo, ready to be a fill-in if one of the starters in the majors goes down with an injury.
Anyone who doubts this should remember Fernando Nieve. In 2009, Nieve had 4 QS in 7 starts and a 2.95 ERA overall. But his FIP was 4.90 and his xFIP was 5.41 in 2009. This year (albeit in relief), Nieve posted a 6.00 ERA, one much closer to his 2009 estimators than his 2009 ERA. Expect Gee to do likewise in 2011.