Let's be honest here. None of the various options bounced back and forth for SP trading are all that appetizing, with the exception of Dan Haren. Oswalt will cost too much, Westbrook profiles to be another Pelfrey, who strikes out less and walks more (although to be fair Pelf has looked none to dazzling recently), Carmona has yet to prove he can replicate his brilliant 2007 season, Lilly is average and has a 3.11 BB/9 with a lot of fly balls, and Statcorner has Kevin Millwood at an ugly 5.82 tRA (Statcorner has a great primer on this stat but basically it attempts to calculate how many runs a pitcher will give up per nine innings). While I wouldn't mind tossing some prospects to Arizona for Dan Haren, I don't trust Omar not to botch the deal. At this point, unless the Mets show some indication of being more than a .500 team, it's a mistake to mortgage the future on a team that needs more than just another starter to make the playoffs. That has been discussed on this site ad nauseum so I won't bring it up again. What I would like to suggest is that we may have a home grown option that would be as good as the trade targets mentioned, and certainly better than some. Join me after the jump for my case for Dillon Gee.
|Fausto Carmona||4.50 (3.94)||4.50 (3.88)||5.42 (5.73)||3.8 (2.55)||2.44 (2.97)||4.18|
Some notes first. These stats come courtesy of fangraphs, baseball-reference.com, and statcorner. The stats in parenthesis for Carmona show his 2007 season for comparison's sake. Gee's stats are imperfect because fangraphs doesn't average minor league stats. I had to do it myself so it may be a bit off. Tak2's starting stats are just up there for comparison; SSS caveat applies. Further, I am venturing into sort of uncharted waters as far as my knowledge of advanced metrics go, so if any of my assumptions about these numbers are off, please feel free to correct me (soundly if necessary).
Anyway, Gee. He started out in St. Lucie in 2008 and has moved all the way up the ladder to Buffalo. He features a high 80's- low 90's fastball, a changeup and a slider, all of which he can throw for strikes. Per Rob's excellent Mets farm reports, his current line is as follows: 9-5, 4.51 ERA, 111.2 IP, 109 H, 27 BB, 110 K, 15 HR. The K:BB ratio is excellent, but the HR rate is worrying. There was stretch in the first half of the season where he was giving up a HR or more per game. He has turned it around recently though with 4 quality starts since the end of June, going almost the distance in his last start with 8.0 IP and 8:1 K:BB.
MLE calculator doesn't have a pitching calculator yet so I can only work with Gee's minor league numbers and guess at how that would translate. Its reasonable to expect that he would probably have a high 3 to mid 4 ERA. His FIP has been 3 or lower at each level he's stopped at except for this season, which is mostly a reflection of his abysmal May and early June. His K/9 has hovered around 7 for most of his career thus far with a decent walk rate as well. His fly ball/home run tendencies are worrying, but playing in cavernous Citi Field might negate some of that. Even so, there are worse things to have in your fifth starter.
Rather than trade prospects to secure one of the mostly uninspiring group above, I think we should give Gee a shot. The two who are clearly better than him, Oswalt and Haren, are probably unreachable. The Astros want the moon for Oswalt (one rumor had them asking for Thole, Tejada and F-Mart). Haren would probably be worth it given the years left on his contract and his youth, but I don't know how likely it is that the D'Backs trade their staff ace at this point, again given his youth and contract. As for the rest, even projecting struggles for Gee on call up he probably wouldn't be any worse than Lilly or Millwood and he would probably be better than Westbrook or Carmona. So why not? The alternative is running out Tak2 again, mortgaging prospects for a 32 yr old with a bloated contract or mortgaging a lot more prospects for Haren, or getting basically drek.
That's my case for Dillon Gee. What do you guys think?