By Jerry Del Priore
The old baseball adage goes: You can never have enough pitching. The New York Mets proved that when Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo all went down with injury last season, making for a nightmarish 2017 campaign.
To restock the once-deep pitching farm system, the Mets have selected three starting hurlers in the first rounds of the 2016 and ’17 drafts, taking David Peterson (No. 20 overall in ’17), Justin Dunn (No. 19 overall in ‘16) and Anthony Kay (No. 31 overall in’16).
Peterson sports a four-pitch arsenal, which he says he can throw for strikes. At the University of Oregon, the 6-foot-6, 240-pounder fanned 20 batters in a game against Arizona State.
Peterson wound up posting a 11-4 record with a 2.51 ERA in ‘17, and went 0-0 with 2.45 ERA while striking out six in 3.2 innings of work with short-season Class A Brooklyn Cyclones that same year.
Several baseball insiders have him projected as a third or fourth future option on a starting major league staff.
As for Dunn, he went 5-6 with 5.00 ERA in 95.1 frames with Advanced-A St. Lucie. The 22-year-old Boston College product was solid with the Cyclones, going 1-1 with 1.50 ERA in 30.0 innings.
New York News Day has slotted Dunn in the third spot on its New York’s 2017 top 20 prospect list. Since he converted to starter in ’16, the Long Island native is considered by many baseball insiders to be a work in progress, with room to grow. Let’s see what transpires.
Though Kay, another Long Island hurler, was out for the entire season, he did garner the 13th prospect spot of Newsday’s list. Kay’s fastball flirts around the 94-95 mark, but there’s no telling where it will be after he returns to the hill from Tommy John surgery.
Kay does own a good changeup and average slider, but the verdict is still out on him.
Honorable Mention: The Mets do have a wildcard of sorts in Marcos Molina, who missed the whole ’16 year due to Tommy John surgery.
Molina posted a 2-3 mark with a 1.26 ERA and 23 strikeouts over 28 2/3 innings in five starts with High-A St. Lucie in ‘17 after returning from TJS. New York promoted the right-hander to Double-A Binghamton, where he went 3-7 with 3.92 ERA in 78.00 innings.
While staying healthy will be pivotal in Molina’s future success, he does have the pitching chops to be a force at the Major League level in the future.
Let’s hope, for New York’s sake, that it limits itself to M.A.S.H. pitching stays in 2018.