The Mets dipped into Long Island again with their first two picks in the MLB Draft on Thursday night (Friday in Manila).
Seven years after they drafted former Ward Melville lefthander Steven Matz, the Mets
picked Freeport native Justin Dunn with the 19th overall selection and took former Ward Melville lefthander Anthony Kay with the 31st pick.
“Very excited,” Kay, a junior at UConn, said Thursday night. “Surrounded by 30 of my family and friends at my house here in Stony Brook. I knew the Mets were high on me. I thought I had a shot at the 19th overall pick. When it didn’t happen, we thought another team might pick me before the 31st pick. This is awesome.”
Dunn, a flame-throwing righthander from Boston College who went to high school in Connecticut, is a lifelong Yankees fan, as is Kay. But Mets fans probably won’t hold that against them if they reach the majors and have the same impact as Matz, who was a second-round pick in 2009.
Dunn is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Friday as Boston College takes on Miami in an NCAA super regional game at A-Rod Park at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables, Florida. The game will be televised on ESPNU. He struck out 11 in seven innings last Friday in a 7-2 win over Tulane in an NCAA regional.
Dunn, 20, is 4-1 with a 1.49 ERA in 17 games this season for BC. He is listed at 6-2 and 184 pounds. He went to high school at The Gunnery School in Washington, Connecticut. He was drafted once before, by the Dodgers in the 37th round in 2013, but decided to attend college.
Dunn was a late bloomer at BC before bursting onto the prospect scene. As a freshman, he had a 7.30 ERA in seven games. As a sophomore, he went 4-4 with a 4.94 ERA with five saves in 20 games (three starts).
But Dunn took off as a junior with a fastball clocked as high as 99 mph. He was ranked by Baseball America as the 22nd-best prospect in this year’s draft. MLB.com had him at No. 29.
Dunn could join Matz in the Mets’ rotation someday, but he listed Long Island’s Marcus Stroman as one of his influences in a predraft interview. Like Stroman, Dunn was considered small for a righthander before a growth spurt. Stroman, listed at 5-8 and 180 pounds, now is the Blue Jays’ ace.
Kay, who was drafted by the Mets in the 29th round in 2013, decided to attend the University of Connecticut, where he blossomed into one of the top lefthanders in the nation. “What a difference three years make,” Kay said.
When Kay was drafted by the Mets the first time, he reached out to Matz — who has won 11 of his first 13 big-league decisions — for advice on what to do. They’ve since crossed paths during the winter during clinics.
Said Matz, “I know him really well. We went to the same high school. My high school, when you’re a freshman, you’re still in the middle school, so that was the case there. When I was a senior, he was in eighth grade. But I do know him well, I do see him during the winter.
“I was really excited when he got drafted out of high school by the Mets. That was pretty cool to see him have a lot of success and get bumped all the way up to the first round. I’m really excited for him.
“I do know when he was a senior, I don’t think he gave up one earned run. He has a really good changeup, from what I know. When he threw down in St. Lucie, UConn versus I can’t remember, it was last year I believe, I watched him pitch. And he’s got really good stuff.
“I haven’t talked to him much, just kind of through my high school coach [Lou Petrucci]. Pretty close to him still. He’s still close with Anthony as well.”
Kay, 21, is listed at 6 feet and 187 pounds. He went 9-2 with a 2.65 ERA this season. He has a fastball in the low-to-mid-90s and a changeup that has been an out pitch since his high school days.
UConn was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament on Sunday after Kay pitched the Huskies to an automatic berth with two victories in a four-day span.
With their second-round pick (64th overall), the Mets took University of Florida first baseman Peter Alonso.