Coming off a very strong 2013 campaign, Dillon Gee was expected to be a key piece of the New York Mets' 2014 rotation. The right-hander went on a tear from late May of 2013—one so strong, it led to Terry Collins giving him the nod on Opening Day 2014. What ensued was a season of inconsistency split in half by injury, leaving many questions unanswered about Gee's status and future on the team.
Gee started off decently, allowing four runs in 6.2 innings against the Washington Nationals. His April as a whole was fairly successful as he pitched to the tune of a 2.88 ERA. But he seemed to outperform his peripherals by a fair margin. He posted a 4.36 FIP in this time frame with an astronomically low .211 batting average on balls in play against while allowing ground balls 43.6 percent of the time. All signs pointed to a spike in his ERA.
He made two starts in May, both of which followed the previous trend. However, his performance was enough to garner the title of "the best pitcher on the team so far" by the middle of the month. Then, one day before his scheduled start against the New York Yankees, the injury struck. On May 14, Gee was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right lat strain, an injury that wasn't supposed to sideline him for more than two weeks. Not knowing the extent of the injury, Gee pushed himself too far in a throwing session, causing a setback. He ended up missing nearly two months.
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In his first start back from the DL on July 9, Gee pitched one of his best games of the season against the Atlanta Braves, needing only 85 pitches to toss seven strong innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts. It seemed as if Gee hadn't skipped a beat. That proved to be smoke and mirrors.
Because of the All-Star break, his next start didn't come until ten days after his previous one. This set the tone for an abysmal finish to the month July. He posted an 8.10 ERA over his final three starts of the month, a definite cause for concern. His August was nothing spectacular, and his September was even worse. He compiled a combined 4.28 ERA and 4.46 FIP in 61 innings over the final two months of the season, far from a strong finish. What began as a supposed continuation of his strong 2013 campaign ended as a very disappointing and confusing season with much left to be desired.
Gee's final line of 7-8 with a 4.00 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 6.16 K/9, and 2.82 BB/9 were all downgrades from his 2013 numbers. He allowed almost 2 percent more ground balls and his HR/FB rate rose by almost 1.5 percent. This left him as a below-replacement-level starter (-0.1 WAR) according to FanGraphs, a decrease of over a full win from last season (1.1). Most of his early success can be attributed to BABIP luck. Regression to the mean then reared its ugly head, as reflected by his performance in the second half. In 2013, the disparity between his ERA and FIP had never reached the levels it did in 2014. This seemed to have come out of nowhere. Gee did not experience a loss of velocity on his fastball like Jon Niese did. It was simply a down year for the 28-year-old. Relying on a bounce-back season without injury from him in 2015 might be a risky move.
Gee is due for arbitration this winter after making $3.63 million this past season and is under control through the 2016 season. It can be assumed that the Mets will explore all trade options with him.
Desired 2015 role: A strong season as the fifth starter with the Mets, showing that 2014 was a fluke.
Expected 2015 role: Average fourth or fifth starter, perhaps on a different team.