Over the past couple of years, Dillon Gee has received plenty of attention here at Amazin’ Avenue. After an unsustainably good cup of coffee in September 2010, I checked in on his progress in June the following year, when things were going fairly well, and again in August, when things weren’t going nearly as smoothly. And early last year, Gee looked like an improved pitcher, and although his season was cut short by injury, his 4.10 ERA in 2012 was quite a bit lower than the 4.43 ERA he posted in 2011.
What’s made Gee such an interesting player to watch is that he wasn’t a heralded pitching prospect as he rose through the Mets’ minor league ranks. Well, that and the opportunity to make puns with his name, of course:
- Ain’t nothin’ but a Gee thang.
- Gee, this guy can pitch.
- Take the Gee train to the 7 train to the game.
And so on. But as a pitcher, Eno Sarris pointed out he might be the Mets’ right-handed version of Jon Niese, which was echoed in James Kannengieser’s community projection piece about him. And that’s what makes him exciting to watch this year. His first start went well, but whether or not he can shave another third of a run off his ERA this year will go a long way towards determining what the Mets expect out of Gee beyond this season.
And that’s exciting. It’s not as exciting as a Matt Harvey start — you probably won’t hear "Happy Gee Day" anytime soon — but it’s something to look forward to, especially with Johan Santana out for the season, Shaun Marcum at least temporarily on the shelf, and Zack Wheeler refining his game in Las Vegas. There’s no expectation for Gee to surpass Niese or Harvey in the rotation’s pecking order, but if it turns out the Mets’ fourth- or fifth-best starter is significantly better than the average fourth-best starter on a Major League Baseball team, that’s a very valuable asset to have around.