I was giddy leading up to the draft, down right giddy. Usually men aren’t supposed to get “giddy”, but the draft is my favorite non denominational holiday. I absolutely love the draft. I had been doing countless draft reports, pouring over scouting reports of every player, seeing all the mock drafts I could, and came to the conclusion that the Mets were picking Wake Forest 3rd Baseman Will Craig for the 19th overall pick. On the night of the draft, the Mets passed on Craig and surprised me, grabbing Dunn, a right hander from Long Island, who was drafted out of Boston College. According to the Mets, they really wanted him, having him higher on their board, and I’m going to show you why.
RHP Justin Dunn (College Stats)
R/R, 6’2″ 185 lbs, 9/22/1995 (21), Drafted in the First Round 19th overall out of Boston College in 2017.
Originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2013 in the 37th round out of The Gunnery School in 2013, he turned down the offer to go pro and instead attended Boston College. While there, he struggled in his first two years with ace-like stuff, pitching as mostly a reliever until scouts asked the coach to keep him as a starter in his junior year. While he pitched only 8 out of his 18 games as a starter, that was enough to convince the Mets to select him 19th overall in the 2016 draft.
The Mets signed the talented righty on June 21st for the slot value of $2,378,800 and had him go through their throwing program before having him pitch for the Short Season-A Brooklyn Cyclones on July 4th. He began throwing in the bullpen for two games in his first three outings for two innings each. Then afterwards, he started games for the team in three-inning limited spurts for the last eight games. Dunn dominated the league in his limited spurts to a 1.50 ERA and struck out 35 in 30 total innings. A local pitcher, growing up in Freeport, Long Island the player’s family and friends constantly came to see him play 45 minutes away in Coney Island.
Dunn has serious talent as a pitcher, showing a quick arm, capable of producing a fastball around 93-95 and touching 98 as a starter and sits around 95-96, touching 99 as a reliever. In addition, he has an above-average slider that has the chance to be plus. He also has a curve and change that are both below-average and need work, but he has time to develop those two better. Mets pitching coaches usually have a plan on how to develop more feel for a changeup, with side-pens repeating throwing it, but i’m not so sure about the development of a curve. His control is average, and he may need to refine his mechanics to make sure he can spot his good stuff.
While the stuff is good, the body is slender. He doesn’t really have that thick frame with broad shoulders that you look for in a pitcher, more of a wiry-type of body that makes scouts wonder whether or not he’s going to stay as starter. He also has a violent delivery that makes people wonder if he’s going to stick as a starter or become a good closer.The other question is about his stamina, which a slender frame usually shows can be less viable. Dunn seemed fatigued after a while in Brooklyn, throwing in later outings in the high 80’s rather than mid-90’s. He finished the season pitching 95.2 between College and professional baseball, and may want to build up his stamina further before losing velocity.
He’ll start for now, and if he sticks at starter, he may be another one in the pipeline that the Mets can develop into something amazing. If not, he can become a pretty nice closer for the Mets. That’s a nice coup for a first-rounder if he becomes either of these outcomes.
His assignment will most likely be in Hi-A St. Lucie and will likely be fast tracked through the Mets system, stopping in Double-A Binghamton after 12 starts and likely shut down after 130 innings.
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