Monday, April 12, 2010

Keep An Eye On: Dillon Gee, SP

From the series that brought you Jordany Valdespin...

One guy who I believe has gotten much less attention than he deserves while rising through our minor league system is Dillon Gee. Gee pitched 6 innings of shut out ball on Sunday for Triple-A Buffalo, and all signs indicate that he is closer to the show than people expected. He posted a sterling 4-0 K-BB ratio in the start, and he may be knocking at the door. So how did we get here?

Gee was drafted out of the 22nd round (unspectacular) and was assigned to short-season Class-A Brooklyn for his minor league debut (unspectacular). He pitched well there, but by the start of the 2008 season, he was a 22-year-old in Port St. Lucie -- nothing to get too excited about.

Gee was recently ranked as the #22 prospect for the Mets by Toby Hyde of Mets Minor League Blog. Solid, but unspectacular. You might see a pattern.[1]

So at what point do we have to look at Gee's performances and say to ourselves that he deserves a second look? From the start of the 2008 season and onward, he has been great - doing nothing to dispel the notion that he could someday prove to be a very good major league pitcher. Here's a look at his minor league stats:

Age - Year - Team - Level
22 - 2008 - St Lucie - A+ - 127.1 IP, 19 BB, 94 K, 1.07 WHIP, 3.25 ERA
22 - 2008 - Binghamton - AA - 27 IP, 5 BB, 20 K, 0.85 WHIP, 1.33 ERA
23 - 2009 - Buffalo - AAA - 48.1 IP, 16 BB, 42 K, 1.30 WHIP, 4.10 ERA

He struggled in Buffalo a little last year, but it was eventually revealed that he had been pitching hurt. There was actually a pretty good write up of Gee in the Post yesterday, in which they talk about his slight labrum tear. Gee had this to say about it himself:
"That was very frustrating," he said of having to sit out. "To have such a good year in ’08 and in winter ball, and then I pitched fairly decent in big league camp that year, and then to get hurt and sit out an entire year watching everyone else play was really depressing. But hopefully I can work my way back and it’s all behind me."
How much of his struggles at Buffalo were his labrum, nobody can say. What we can say, however, that even while he scuffled a little bit, posting an ERA of 4.10 in your first taste of Triple-A at the age of 23 is very impressive.

Another thing to like about Gee is that he has constantly maintained a good or great ratio of strikeouts to walks. In fact, his K-BB ratio for his minor league career is actually north of 4, which is excellent.

Gee might never have the ceiling of an ace or #2 starter, but if he keeps pitching like this, he is going to get himself on the radar really fast. According to Toby Hyde, Gee "tops out around 91 with strong control and mixes in his breaking ball for strikes."

With the great performance yesterday indicating that his injury woes are behind him, Gee has a tremendous opportunity to continue developing. If you can throw 91 and strike out two or three times as many guys as you walk, you can have a great career in the major leagues. Just ask the Professor.

[1] For what it's worth, Mack of Mack's Mets ranked Gee all the way up at #9 last year in his rankings. I don't know how he does it, but Mack is on top of EVERYTHING Mets minors.

Oh and by the way, Ike Davis homered tonight for the Buffalo Bisons' only run.

1 comment:

Jason K. said...

sweet. when do we turn him into our next middle relief pitcher extraordinaire?