There are no guarantees in the baseball draft, but selecting power arms is generally a good idea, which was the Mets’ thinking when they used their first two picks to take junior pitchers Justin Dunn of Boston College with the 19th overall selection, and left-hander Anthony Kay of Connecticut 12 picks later.
You might wonder why a team struggling offensively and pitching rich would go after more pitching. Quite simply, we’re talking about Dunn and Kay not being ready for up to three more years, and a lot can happen in that span.
From the Mets’ current staff, there are injuries and trades, not to mention free agency. Of course, the way things have been going for him, you could exclude from that mix Bartolo Colon, who gave up one run in seven innings Thursday in Milwaukee.
Also, as the Mets proved with Yoenis Cespedes last year, hitting is generally more easily obtainable.
The 6-2, 184-pound Dunn started the college season in the bullpen, but his 90-mph., plus fastball and power curveball were moved into the rotation in April and went 3-1 with a 1.34 ERA in eight starts.
However, what the Mets should really love is he struck out 49 and walked just 13 in 47 innings.
“I try to pitch in the range of 90-92,” Dunn told The Boston Globe. “That’s where mentally I’d like to think I’m pitching. If it comes out harder than that, it comes out harder than that. Lately, it has been, which is a blessing. I feel pretty confident in all four pitches. That’s what makes it so hard for hitters. A hitter in a 1-and-2 count can’t eliminate one.”
Dunn throws a two- and four-seam fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. Dunn, who is from Long Island, will be pitching this weekend to send the Eagles into the College World Series.
Kay throws in the low 90s and throws a fastball, changeup and curve.
UConn coach Jim Penders says Kay has a Long Island swagger, and you know what he means by that when you watch Matz.
“`It has kind of grown since I left Long Island,” Kay told The Hartford Courant. “It means you don’t care what anybody thinks about you – you just go out and do your job and get it done the best you can.”
Kay was 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 83.1 innings.
The Mets drafted Kay in 2013 and made him a six-figure offer, but he opted for college. They got a second chance Thursday.
What does it say about the Mets that they are willing to play shorthanded for the rest of this week in order to give Juan Lagares‘ partial tear in his left thumb a chance to heal?
For one thing, it says they aren’t comfortable with their outfield depth on the bench. For another, it says they don’t have anybody in their minor league system they are comfortable promoting now.
The Mets’ thinking is they want to see the inflammation go down and if he’s capable of gripping a bat. If he’s not by the time the Mets go to Milwaukee, a DL decision will be made then. Assistant GM John Ricco said Lagares will likely have offseason surgery.
“Because it’s on his glove hand and bottom hand on a bat, there’s a good chance he’ll be able to play with it,” Ricco told reporters in Pittsburgh. “We won’t know until some of the swelling gets out of there and he has a chance to see how it feels. … You’ve seen guys play with this and have surgery after the season. I would guess that would be the normal course.”
Lagares was injured diving for a ball in the outfield Saturday in Miami. He didn’t play Sunday – TV cameras on him in the dugout showed he couldn’t get his glove on – and the Mets were fortunate they didn’t play Monday night.
As for Cespedes, he didn’t start the last two games in Miami because of a bruised right hip.
Alejandro De Aza represents the Mets’ outfield depth on the major league level, and there’s nobody the Mets are comfortable with in the minors to bring up now.
This isn’t a good time for the Mets to be playing shorthanded because the Pirates represent probably their closest competition for a wild card berth.
I am on record as being an advocate of Wilmer Flores long before the tears. He’ll be getting his second straight start Saturday in Miami as David Wright‘s replacement at third base. Here’s hoping this opportunity is legitimate.
By that, I mean if he goes hitless for two or three games that he goes out there for a fourth game. He played a lot last year when Wright was injured and Terry Collins needs to keep him in the lineup now. It has to be Flores’ job to lose.
Pulling him after a week for Eric Cambell or Ty Kelly isn’t a good idea. If they can pull off a solid trade now, go for it, but it really is too soon for a major trade.
I floated several trade options Friday, among them getting Kelly Johnson back from the Braves, Milwaukee’s Aaron Hill, San Diego’s Yangervis Solarte or the Angels’ Yunel Escobar. All are making more than Flores, but honestly, are any of them that far superior they should get the job instead?
The Mets will never learn of Flores’ true abilities – and value – if he’s not given a long-term opportunity. If he’s not adding something offensively by the All-Star break, then explore other options before the trade deadline.
If the Mets appear too eager now in the trade market, they could overpay, so it’s in their best interests to stay with Flores right now.
Considering all that went wrong for the Mets in May, ranging from key injuries to slumps to Matt Harvey’s horrendous pitching, they were lucky finish the month at 14-15 and two games behind Washington.
The Mets ended the month by losing four series, but they enter June with the expected news third baseman David Wright will be placed on the disabled list for an extended period with a herniated disk in his neck.
June starts with a ten-game road trip, beginning with consecutive three-game series at Miami and Pittsburgh, places where they have struggled. It ends with four games in Milwaukee.
It has to go to the only batter who hit with any consistency, which would be Yoenis Cespedes, who hit .342 with eight homers and 14 RBI for the month. Making that more impressive is he’s entering the Miami series on a 1-for-22 (.045) slide. It should also be noted Michael Conforto, Lucas Duda and Wright didn’t offer much protection.
PITCHER OF THE MONTH
Despite spitting the bit in his last start, Steven Matz was named the NL Rookie of the Month by going 4-0 with a 1.83 ERA for the month. He leads all rookie pitchers with seven victories, a 2.60 ERA and 53 strikeouts.
KEY GAME OF THE MONTH
There were several notable games and moments, beginning with Colon’s homer in San Diego and Harvey’s hoped-for turnaround victory on Monday. However, there’s really only one game that ratcheted everybody’s emotions, and that was when Syndergaard threw out Mets’ nemesis Chase Utley. Syndergaard was ejected in the in the third inning which disrupted the Mets’ bullpen for a week and Utley responded with two homers, including a grand slam.
KEY MOVE OF THE MONTH
The Mets had several options as what to do with the frustrated and struggling Harvey, but opted to give him one more start. Harvey responded by pitching the Mets to a 1-0 victory over the White Sox.
RED FLAG ENDURED
After losing Travis d’Arnaud to the disabled list, but Mets brought up catcher Rene Rivera, who has been impressive with his defense and throwing.
KEY ISSUE RESOLVED
The Mets traded for James Loney to replace Duda, who went on the disabled list with a back issue.
Wright will be on the disabled list with a herniated disk for an indefinite length of time. … Duda and d’Arnaud are on the DL with no timetable for their return. … Hansel Robles has a sprained ankle.
SIX QUESTIONS RAISED
Will they generate any offense outside of hitting home runs?
How long will they be without Wright, Duda and d’Arnaud and can their replacements pick up the slack?
Will the new guys, Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, keep hitting?
Was Harvey’s start Monday a fluke or a sign of things to come?
Can the bullpen pull itself out of its funk?
BY THE NUMBERS
1-4: Harvey’s record for May.
3-3: Record in May vs. Nationals.
5: Homers given up by Robles this season.
5: Third baseman used so far.
6: Extra-base hits by Conforto for May.
33: Strikeouts by Curtis Granderson in May.
.208: Mets’ average with RISP.
3.56: Bullpen ERA in May after it was 2.71 in April.
LOOKING AT JUNE’S SCHEDULE
It begins with ten games on the road, including three at Pittsburgh, where they have not played well. Perhaps Walker can catch a Penguins’ game.
They return home for three games each the Pirates and Braves, and two against World Series opponent Kansas City.
They end the month with four games in Atlanta and three more in Washington, before starting a four-game series at home against the Cubs that extends into July.