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Dillon Gee: Underrated?

By Mike Silva ~ November 27th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

J.P. Ricciardi told Mike Francesa when he was hired that one of the first orders of business was to secure some pitching depth. There have been reports of the Mets pursuing a starter from the scrap heap like Aaron Harang, Erik Bedard, or Chris Young. Joe Janish of Mets Today does a pretty comprehensive look at every scrap heap starter on the market. Although there are some good names, the word “hope” comes to mind when evaluating what they can contribute in 2011. Unfortunately, “hope” is not a good strategy.

Returning from the 2010 rotation will be R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese, and Mike Pelfrey. With Johan Santana‘s health in question the Mets are going to need two starters- a huge undertaking since they don’t have much to spend in terms of payroll. However, one may be in their grasp as Dillon Gee did impress me during his brief stint.

Gee is certainly not a top of the rotation ace like Santana, nor does he have the potential of Mike Pelfrey, but Gee showed some moxie during his brief call up. I was particularly impressed how he pitched against the Phillies on a Saturday night in late September. He gave up an early homer to Ryan Howard, but buckled down to give the Mets seven strong innings to prevent stave off the Phils clinching. That was a perfect time to implode since he was pitching against the division leader, small ballpark, and raucous crowd. The fact that he didn’t showed me something. Our resident behavioral guru Dr. Mark Filippi was equally impressed. I asked him to evaluate his thoughts on Gee:

All I needed to know about this ONTO was demonstrated against the Phillies in that late September game the weekend of the Utley-Beltran caper. He let up a homer early and the Phillies gave him a little smack from the dugout. Rather than skulk away, Gee glared into their dugout, pointed out certain Phillies and went back on the mound and proceeded to mow them down and get one of the few W’s the Mets got against them after the competitive phase of the ’10 season ended in mid-June. He’s not afraid to make mistakes or lose throwing his pitch. This kid isn’t the most talented prospect the Mets have, but he may be the most mentally tough. Unlike other ONTO pitchers I’ve discussed (Joba, Pelfrey, Burnett…) Gee is a very coherent, solid player who will take the ball every 5th day and own that start.

What is an ONTO personality you might ask?

They are someone who needs to be on their A-game and in control of what they’re doing. They value and nurture their ideas and enjoy many creative moments. They can accurately advise other people and feel a profound frustration when that’s not welcomed. They are a team leader and thrive in group settings where there’s a clear goal. Some would say that their overly assertive, but in fact they need to make some kind of impact in order to know I’m fully interacting. Their thoughts are their guiding force, and they very aware when they are clouded or upset. They like being considered a peak performer. More than anything, they want to leave an unforgettable legacy.

Bottom line: this is a guy who will maximize his talent at the big league level. I see him as someone like Jon Garland who will give you innings, compete, but never be the sexy name in the rotation. Garland’s peripherals don’t excite you, but he does enough to win ballgames, which is ultimately what the purpose of the starting pitcher. Unlike other prospects with talent, Gee is someone that will not be denied in maximizing his talent. There is no fear in this kid.

Last year in Buffalo he struck out a batter per inning, produced an ERA just under five, and a WHIP of 1.3. His walk rate in September (4.1 per nine), has to decrease, and history says it will (career 1.9 in MILB).

Bill James projects Gee to have an ERA in the 4.10 range. Historically James has been optimistic, but that is what his big league FIP (which accounts only HR, BB, and K in calculating earned runs) was around last season. The walk rate ballooned his xFIP (normalizes home runs for accuracy) to over five. Admittedly if that doesn’t decrease any chance of sustained big league success will go away, ONTO personality or not.

I can see Gee throwing 175 innings next year, winning 10 games, and pitching to a 4.50 ERA. Basically 6 innings/3 runs every start. That sounds like a fifth starter and eventually will earn him $5-$8 million dollars a year.

Not bad for a 21st round draft pick. Even better for the Mets is this should allow them to only rely on one, not two, scrap heap starters.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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4 Responses to Dillon Gee: Underrated?

  1. Stu B

    “Even better for the Mets is this should allow them to only rely on one, not two, scrap heap relievers.”

    Weren’t you discussing starters?

  2. Mike Silva

    good catch!

  3. Stu B

    Better hands than Luis Castillo, lol…

  4. HW

    Someone who knows baseball making an accurate projection of a kid coming up the ladder from a low rung in the 21st round. Toby Hyde (the college rugby player-2nd team- not baseball player) trashes this kid every chance he gets like he has something against him. But I know Gee could care less what a non-baseball player has to say in prognosticating about him.
    Gee has a chance and showed he has the determination to battle with the best players in the world. What a dream for him come true to this point. Beat the Nats in his debut, beat the Phillies in their own park. Wow.

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