2011 Analysis: Dillon Gee
At the beginning of the spring, not much was expected of Dillon Gee. Yet by the end of summer, it could be argued that Gee was a disappointment.
Before you take that the wrong way, I mean it as a compliment. Because when the Mets broke camp at the end of March, Dillon Gee was in the Buffalo Bisons’ rotation, and not part of the big league team’s plans. Yet by the All-Star break, Gee was not only in the Mets’ rotation, but he was one of the team’s top-performing pitchers, and on course to be a legitimate candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Gee began the year 7-0, and expanded it to 10-3 by the end of July. However, he went 3-6 the rest of the season, ending with a final record of 13-6 that looks great from a distant perspective, but was somewhat disappointing for those of us who were up close and watching Gee’s gradual regression. After getting to or through the seventh inning 7 times in the first four months and 20 starts of the season, he made it past the sixth only once in his final ten starts. Several explanations may apply; first and foremost, this was his first big-league season, and it’s likely that Gee simply didn’t have physical stamina to handle 30 starts at his peak potential. Another possibility is that Gee took hitters by surprise, and succeeded at least in part thanks to the benefit of mystery. In other words, Gee may have been helped by the fact batters were unfamiliar with him, and not sure what to expect. Rolling with that theory, it could be surmised that after opponents saw him a few times, and scouting reports were developed on him, Gee became more vulnerable and susceptible.
At the end of the day — and the season — Gee put together an impressive rookie year.
Based on my evaluation, you might think I’m pessimistic about Gee for 2012. Actually, I have a good feeling about the young righthander; I like his bulldog attitude and his history as an overachiever, and believe those attributes alone will keep him in MLB. Will he be an ace one day? Doubtful, but he should be at least a back-end starter for a few years, and maybe push into a middle-of-the-rotation guy at some point. His stuff and makeup remind me a bit of former Met Bobby Jones, who had a few nice seasons in Flushing. If Gee can find consistent command of a second pitch — be it his change-up or overhand curve — and have on-off command of a third, he should enjoy a successful 2012 season.