With the No.31 selection of the MLB Draft, the New York Mets selected left-hander Anthony Kay out of UConn.
Kay went 9-2 this season and helped lead the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament. Posting a 2.65 ERA in 17 starts, Kay’s 263 strikeouts set a new UConn strikeout record that was previously held by Matt Barnes, now with the Red Sox.
The Long Island native was taken by the Mets in the 29th round coming out of Ward Melville high school in 2013, but he opted to go to college instead. Ward Melville was also where Mets left-hander Steven Matz hailed from.
A lifelong Yankees fan, Kay tries to model his game after Andy Pettitte.
Kay has perhaps the best changeup in the entire draft, an 82-86 mph dying rock that ghosts away from right-handed hitters. It’s got easy plus projection in a vacuum, though Kay shows some arm slot variation on the changeup that might suppress the pitch’s effectiveness at the upper levels of pro ball.
Kay’s fastball has been into the mid-90s for starts at a time, topping out at 95, and has been around 90-95 all year, even in frigid temperatures. There’s more plane on the heater than one might expect from a 6-foot pitcher, a product of Kay’s high three-quarter arm slot.
Kay works with a change-up as his main secondary pitch. It is above-average; all scouting reports mention that he will telegraph it on occasion, though it moves so well that hitters still can’t seem to pick it up even if they know it is coming. That may not hold true at the highest levels but he likely has the aptitude to make necessary adjustments. His third pitch is a slurvy breaking ball that needs additional sharpening but has shown progress this spring. His overall sense of command is solid and he projects well as a three-pitch workhorse.
Strike-throwing college lefties are a yearly draft staple and despite the need for some additional polish on his secondary pitches, Kay fits the mold this season. He projects as a compensation or second round pick.
Fastball: Kay worked between 90-93 mph on this outing, and was reportedly 92-95 mph in his previous start. Kay locates his fastball well to both sides of the plate, taking what the umpire will give him.
Changeup: His best pitch, Kay will throw his changeup in any count. Whether sinking or running toward his arm side, this pitch is particularly effective against righties. When throwing the changeup, Kay’s arm speed is consistent with is fastball. Thrown between 82-85 mph, this already advanced pitch will only get better if the fastball velocity continues to trick upward when the warmer weather comes.
Curveball: While the curveball is Kay’s third best offering, it has a tight spin, sharp break and flashes average potential. Thrown at 79-81 mph, Kay leans on this pitch significantly less often than his changeup.
Listed at six feet, 187 pounds, Kay does not have the prototypical big league pitcher’s frame, and because of that he’s put under the microscope just a little bit more. Scouts come out looking for cracks in his game, particularly when it comes to effort in his delivery, stamina late in games, and how he carries his fastball velocity. There were 10-15 scouts in attendance on this dreary New England afternoon, and it gave them a particularly intriguing matchup of Kay versus two potential first round bats, Stephen Alemais and Jake Rogers.