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What Can Dillon Gee Be?

By Mike Silva ~ April 1st, 2014. Filed under: New York Mets.

An overall awful ending to yesterday’s home opener. Every negative meme spoken about the Mets came to fruition: bad defense, bad bullpen and bad luck. Dillon Gee was the unlikely starter, and for six innings he made you wonder if he is emerging as the ace of this Harvey-less rotation. Then came the bullpen, led by journeymen like Carlos Torres and Scott Rice. If not for Jose Valverde, there wouldn’t have been extra innings. Terry Collins claimed in the postgame that Gee was “gassed” and he was “getting his pitches up.” I wonder if that perception comes from what the eyes saw or what the pitch count- Gee was at 100 pitches exactly upon his exit- on the scoreboard.

Rich Coutinho of SNY was bullish on Gee during my Saturday radio program, proclaiming the righty could be an All-Star this year. I have liked Gee since his call-up in 2010 when he took a blow from Ryan Howard on a Saturday night in Philly with a division-clinching celebration was on the line. That city was looking for blood, and Gee settled in to give a dead Mets team an opportunity to win a tough ballgame. Since his call-up he’s showed moxie, and improved every year, despite a huge setback due to a blood clot in 2012.

The Mets will probably baby Gee like all their starters, despite the fact he was treated the exact opposite upon being drafted in the 21st round in 2007. That summer he pitched for Brooklyn in the NY-Penn League. He started 11 games, won 3, and pitched to a 2.47 ERA in 62 innings. Why are those inning important? It’s because he threw additional 111 in college for Texas-Arlington. Imagine if a top pick threw 173 innings their rookie year in pro-ball? The pitch count police might charge the organization for abuse, and put them before a military tribunal.

Gee was not supposed to be a big leaguer. He wasn’t supposed to matter, as many saw him as, at best, inventory at Triple-A. Now that he’s shown promise it appears he will be treated like a glass vase just like Wheeler, Mejia and the other young arms that will be called upon this summer.

It’s possible that Dillon Gee is no more than a league-average starter that can give you innings at the back-end of a rotation. His career ERA+ of 95 indicates as much. But what if Gee can perform at a higher level? What if the second-half of 2013 (5-4, 2.74) is a harbinger of things to come? Maybe the Mets have a solid, homegrown, top-of-the-rotation veteran starter that can anchor what is an increasingly young rotation. That’s supposed to be Jon Niese, but Gee has looked more the part since the middle of last year.

What can Dillon Gee be? We may not know, but I do believe we won’t find out with 100 pitches and out every five days. I will take my chances with a “gassed” Gee over a journeyman righty and a former member of the Long Island Ducks, any day of the week.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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