Tuesday June 28, 2011
MLB reports: Our last feature was on Danny Espinosa, the Nationals rookie second baseman who is taking Washington by storm. For all the talk of Espinosa’s strong play, many readers wrote in to suggest that Dillon Gee should be at the top of the National League Rookie of the Year talk. For many MLB fans, the first question will be: Who the heck is Dillon Gee?
Dillon Kyle Gee was born and raised in Texas. The 25-year old right-handed pitcher went to high school and university in Texas. The New York Mets drafted the 6’1″ pitcher in the 21st round of the 2007 draft. That is where the story should begin and end. Most players chosen beyond the 2nd round have a very small chance of ever making it to AAA, let alone the majors. This is the not the case though for Dillon Gee, who as a 21st round selection has beaten the odds to make it to the show.
Before joining the Mets full-time this year, here is a snapshot look at Dillon Gee’s career numbers in the minors:
|AAA (3 seasons)||AAA||15||12||4.76||221.1||228||62||215||1.310|
|AA (1 season)||AA||2||0||1.33||27.0||18||5||20||0.852|
|A- (1 season)||A-||3||1||2.47||62.0||57||9||56||1.065|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||8||6||3.25||127.1||117||19||94||1.068|
Dillon Gee was good, but not great in his minor league career based on the above numbers. While he was stellar in the lower minors, Gee was not exactly “lights out” in AAA. In 221.1 innings pitched in Buffalo over parts of three seasons, Dillon Gee had a 4.76 ERA and 1.310 WHIP. By failing to dominate in AAA, one would have realistically expected Gee to require more seasoning before coming to New York or end up running the risk of getting lit up in the majors.
As you can see from Gee’s Mets numbers, quite the opposite has occurred:
|162 Game Avg.||18||6||2.97||37||31||200||156||13||83||125||1.193|
Dillon Gee’s numbers speak for themselves. 8-1 record, 3.32 ERA and 1.184 WHIP. While he walks a shade too many batters (30/51 BB/K), he gives up far fewer hits than innings pitched. Based on his minor league numbers, I do not expect him to keep up his current pace. The 2nd and 3rd times through the league, I expect NL batters will have a better book on Gee. As the amount of innings pitched increases as well in the hot summer months, Gee will likely wear down. In 2009, Gee missed most of the season due to a shoulder injury. The Mets will likely wear kid gloves with him to some extent and not over extend his arm or risk causing further injury.
The New York Mets currently sit at 39-39, a .500 record with almost half a season completed. Not much was expected of a team with a great deal of scandal and turmoil surrounding it. One of the few bright spots though, in addition to the strong play and resurgent seasons by Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, has been the emergence of Dillon Gee. The patchwork pitching of the staff is nothing to write home about. Jonathon Niese, Mike Pelfrey, Chris Capuano and R.A. Dickey have combined with Gee to keep the Mets afloat and the team competitive in ball games. Chris Young fell early in the season and Johan Santana remains out following shoulder surgery. If not for the play of Dillon Gee, the Mets could have found themselves in the basement of the NL East. Instead, the team is in striking distance of the Braves for 2nd place in the division.
We should know by August if we have a possible Rookie of the Year in New York or another hot-shot prospect that had a couple of good months in Dillon Gee. With so much misery surrounding the Mets, it is a pleasure to see a bright hope emerge within its pitching staff. Dillon Gee this year evolved from an unknown minor leaguer that was considered a middle-of-the-road prospect to top starter status. Mets fans are hoping they have caught lightning in a bottle in Gee for the long-term success of its team. In the meantime, Gee will continue to pitch every fifth day in New York and give his team the best chance to succeed. That is really all the Mets can ask for at the end of the day.
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