Sorry for yesterday’s absence: the infrastructure ate my Dillon Gee piece. Fortunately, nothing happened last night to change my basic point, so let’s try this again.
Gee, you might remember, was being touted by some as New York’s rising pitching star after he burst onto the scene in 2011, pitching to an 8-1 record and 3.32 ERA over his first 15 appearances through June 26. The problem was, his peripheral stats didn’t remote suggest a pitcher that good. He’d struck out just six batters per nine, walked 3.6 per nine, and generally pitched like a pitcher far closer to a 4.50 ERA. So his regression from July through the end of the season was ugly- a 5.42 ERA, despite similar peripherals- but it also made sense. His overall ERA in 2011 was 4.43. His xFIP, which eliminates defense and luck, was 4.46. He looked like a garden variety back end starter.
So after last night’s start, Gee has a 4.78 ERA in 2012. More of the same, right? No.
Gee, through six starts, boasts of a sparkling 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings, and just 1.9 walks per nine innings. These are peripherals good enough for an xFIP of 3.00. Gee has been exceedingly unlucky so far, or a combination of unlucky and a victim of a shake Mets defense. His ground ball rate is up to a gaudy 52.2 percent, which bodes well moving forward as well for a pitcher prone to the home run ball on fly balls.
So while many of the early Mets performances have been built on largely unsustainable process-take Josh Thole’s batting average on balls in play, for instance- Dillon Gee, if he continues at this current process, has taken a step forward. It seems ironic that he is doing so now, when it isn’t reflected in his numbers, rather than last year, when he got credit for it, unjustly.