Anthony Kay LHP
Bats/Throws: L/L Ht: 6’0 Wt: 218 lbs Age: 22 (3/21/95)
Mets fans are already amp’ed up for the long-awaited minor league debut for Anthony Kay, the Mets second of two 1st round picks in the 2016 Amateur Draft (comp pick for Daniel Murphy signing with the Nats). While Kay will turn 23 later next month, he will debut with an A-ball Mets affiliate a few weeks later. The wait occurred due to the old tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. Luckily for the Mets, they discovered the injury during his pre-signing physical, and were able to use it’s existence to sign Kay far below slot value. They took the savings to sign former Mets Prospect of the Day, Cameron Planck. So in a sense, we have Daniel Murphy spurning the Mets qualifying offer to thank for two top Mets pitching prospects.
Now that Kay is back, as he was getting buzz during last fall’s instructional league post-TJS for hitting 96 on the radar gun, Mets fans are going to watch Kay develop his interesting repertoire. Said heater, which sits comfortably in the low 90s, also features good arm-side run. Kay commands it well thanks to a smooth 3/4 slot delivery, which also hides the ball well. Overall, the scouting industry has been comfortable throwing a solid 55 on the pitch.
Next up in Kay’s arsenal is an impressive change-up. Kay reportedly gets plus fade and tumble on the change, and collegiate hitters struggled to hit it even though they knew it was coming…See the give and take I did there?
Yeah, Kay has an issue that is going to have to get ironed out as he faces professional hitters. Due to slower arm action and a lower slot compared to the fastball, Kay telegraphed the change during his collegiate days as a UCONN Huskie. However, this is the type of issue that one would expect the Mets minor league coaching staff to have little trouble in getting Kay to improve. Once that happens, the change is a plus major league pitch. Simultaneously, the Mets are going to continue to get Kay to improve upon his marginal breaking pitches, likely scrapping his curve in favor of a slider. Probably not the infamous Warthen slider, but still. Even a major league average slider to get some swings and misses would give Kay the profile to succeed as a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues.
A couple of more fun things about Kay:
– Kay was drafted by the Mets way back in 2013 out of Melville-Ward High, Steven Matz’s alma mater, in the 26th round but he didn’t sign.
– Kay has an excellent pick-off move! Yes, this excites me. I know that certain Mets pitchers who are slow to home-plate have not helped control the running game in recent years, and I always got so mad watching lefties on other teams like Andy Petite growing up, with their bal-…I mean plus pick-off moves. I know data shows that this is not a significant part of a pitcher’s overall value, but this is just a little extra plus in my book, a little ode to the traditionalist left deep inside me, buried somewhere underneath all the numbers and analytics.
My best guess is we see Kay start his year off right in St.Lucie with the High-A club, as the Mets will not feel the need to bother watching him dominate low-A hitters. Watching Kay potentially pitch in the same rotation as other 1st round picks, Justin Dunn and David Peterson should have Mets fans glued to the early starting pitching match-ups down at St.Luce this April.