Mets LHP prospect Anthony Kay has been dominant this season for Double-A Binghamton. Here's a deep dive on Kay, who could find himself at Citi Field later this season...
Weight: 218 lbs
MLB Pipeline Mets Prospect Ranking: 8
2019 Statistics: 1.47 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 3-2 record in 36.2 innings pitched over seven starts while allowing 19 hits, 15 walks and striking out 37
Anthony Kay was born in Stony Brook, New York. He has very supportive parents and three siblings -- a brother and two sisters. He attended Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, which is the same high school that Mets left-hander Steven Matz attended. He's had a rapport with Matz dating back to high school as members and alumni of the baseball team partake in a clinic with youth in the area every year.
The Mets were impressed with Kay at Ward Melville, where he was touching 91 mph on the radar gun. He won the Paul Gibson Award for the best pitcher on Long Island. The Mets drafted Kay in the 29th Round of the 2013 MLB Draft. But despite the Mets' willingness to offer an above-slot bonus, Kay decided he wanted to go to college and pursue his education as well as baseball.
He chose to attend the University of Connecticut as they were the best baseball program that offered him a shot out of high school and it was close enough to home where family could attend some games. In his career at UConn he made, Kay made 52 appearances -- 39 starts totaling 286 innings pitched. He had a career 2.64 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. In 2016 he jumped on the national scene while posting 2.65 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. He went on to be a Louisville Slugger 2nd Team All American, American Athletic Conference First Team and the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year.
It is a very rare situation where a player is drafted by a team out of high school, doesn't sign and proceeds to get drafted again by the same team. This happened to Kay, as the Mets received the 31st Overall Pick in the 2016 MLB Draft as compensation for Daniel Murphy signing with the Nationals and they opted to use the pick on Kay. He ended up signing with the Mets for a below slot bonus as there ended up being some concerns with his elbow during his MRI. Kay did not pitch during that summer for the Mets and underwent Tommy John Surgery in October of 2016 before ever throwing a pitch for the organization.
With the Mets
The Tommy John surgery caused Kay to miss the entire 2017 season. Despite being a draft pick in 2016, he did not make his professional debut until 2018. He was limited on his innings coming off surgery and ended up throwing 122.2 innings between Single-A Columbia and Advanced-A St. Lucie. He went a combined 7-11 with a 4.26 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, allowing 124 hits and 49 walks while striking out 123. The Mets were very satisfied with Kay's development as his velocity and stuff maintained and he showed signs of getting more comfortable towards the end of the season.
In 2019, the Mets placed Kay with Double-A Binghamton and he has gotten off to a dominant start in the second season removed from Tommy John, which is usually when things truly get right for pitchers. He has made seven starts so far and has posted a 1.47 ERA and 0.93 WHIP, allowing 19 hits and 15 walks in 36.2 innings while striking out 37. He even had his first professional base hit on Tuesday. While some may have questioned Kay after 2018, he is quickly putting those questions to rest with his early-season performance in Double-A.
Repertoire and Future
Kay features a three-pitch mix with a fastball that sits 92-94 and touches 96 mph. Kay feels some delivery changes he made as well as just feeling fully healthy has caused him to throw harder more consistently. He features two secondary pitches with the primary being his changeup in the low 80's which he uses to put away hitters. Kay recently has gotten very comfortable with a curveball that he spins in the upper 70's to low 80's. He learned his curveball grip from a former teammate at UConn, John Russell, who is with the Giants organization right now.
Kay is a very advanced pitcher who lwould likely be in the Major Leagues right now if he had not essentially redshirted a year due to Tommy John surgery. He has a great feel for how to pitch and set hitters up, and he's added more velocity to his game which will help with strikeout numbers.
With the issues that the Mets have with depth in the rotation, it is not outside of the realm of possibility that Kay makes his MLB debut in 2019. If not in 2019, he will likely be an option very early in the 2020 season to take a spot -- especially with pending free agents Zack Wheeler and Jason Vargas potentially not returning. At this point in time I believe Kay is the best pitching prospect in the system, with the ability to be a reliable member in the middle-to-back-end of a big league rotation.