Prior to his start on May 30 against the Yankees, Dillon Gee was on the verge of losing his place in the starting rotation. The Texas native was 2-6 with a 6.34 ERA and was hearing Zack Wheeler‘s footsteps as the über-prospect was just weeks away from being called up for his first taste of big league action.
But everything changed for Gee with that late-May start at Yankee Stadium. Gee pitched into the eighth inning, allowing one run on four hits. He also set a career high by striking out 12 batters without issuing a walk.
After allowing four runs or more in six of his first ten starts, Gee has allowed two runs or less in 14 of his last 21 starts. His 2-6 record is now just a bad memory, as Gee is leading the team with 12 victories. Since Matt Harvey‘s season ended with nine wins and no other pitcher on the Mets has more than seven, it’s safe to assume that Gee will remain the team leader in pitching victories. Therefore, the 2013 campaign will mark the second time in three seasons that Gee has led the team in wins, after finishing first on the Mets with 13 victories in 2011.
In doing so, Gee will become only the 14th pitcher in team history to lead the team or finish tied for the team lead in pitching victories multiple times. The chart below lists the 14 pitchers who have accomplished this feat.
# of Times as Wins Leader
Years as Team Wins Leader
1967, 1969-73, 1975
1984-85, 1987, 1993
2001, 2003-04, 2006
1968, 1974, 1976
With 33 major league victories under his belt, Dillon Gee has the second-fewest wins of the 14 pitchers who led the team in wins in at least two seasons. (Nino Espinosa had 25 wins as a Met.) But there are 30 pitchers in Mets history with more wins than Gee and most of them never led the team in wins more than once. In fact, two of the top ten winners in franchise history never became two-time team leaders in wins.
Ron Darling had 99 wins as a Met – 4th all-time – but only led the team in wins once. And when he did so (1989), he shared the team lead with David Cone and Sid Fernandez. Similarly, Jon Matlack recorded 82 victories for the Mets – 7th all-time – but never led the team in wins. (He can thank Seaver and Koosman for that.)
Tom Seaver. Jerry Koosman. Dwight Gooden. Sid Fernandez. David Cone. Johan Santana. Those are some of the best pitchers who have ever taken the mound for the Mets over their 50-plus years of existence. In addition to being six of the finest pitchers to wear the orange and blue, they also have another thing in common. All six have led or tied for the team lead in wins multiple times. Their exclusive club now has a new member, and his name is Dillon Gee.
Dillon Gee has come a long way to become a top starter for the Mets. He was overlooked in the first twenty rounds of the 2007 amateur draft before the Mets selected him in Round 21. After pitching well in the lower levels of the minor leagues, Gee had an ERA near 5.00 at AAA-Buffalo. But he never gave up hope. And now he’s accomplished something that Seaver, Koosman, Gooden, Fernandez, Cone, Santana and a small group of others have done. Not bad for a pitcher who almost lost his spot in the rotation just four months ago.