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2016 Mets draft profile: Anthony Kay

With their second selection in the 2016 draft, the Mets selected Anthony Kay, a left-handed pitcher from Long Island.

Name: Anthony Kay
Born: Stony Brook, New York
Age: 21 (3/21/95)
Height/Weight: 6'0"/185 lbs
Position: LHP
Bats/Throws: L/L
School: University of Connecticut (Storrs, Connecticut)

With their second selection, the 31st pick overall, the Mets selected Anthony Kay, a left-handed pitcher from the University of Connecticut. Kay was drafted by the Mets out of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket—a high school made famous by Steven Matz—in 2013, but did not sign with them, instead electing to attend college. Though the southpaw physically profiles very similarly to how he did back then, he learned how to be a pitcher in his three years in the Huskies rotation.

Kay possesses a three-pitch repertoire. His fastball sits in the low-90s, topping out as high as 95 MPH. While not exactly lighting up the radar gun, the left-hander nonetheless has shown the ability to hold his velocity deep into games. The pitch gets good arm-side run. He is able to locate the pitch well, and can hit the glove on all quadrants of the plate.

He complements his fastball with a change-up, which scouts generally consider above-average. Kay has big, thick fingers, which allow him to bury the ball in his palm and cover more surface area on the ball. He had an advanced feel for it coming out of high school, and his time at the University of Connecticut only refined the pitch further. It is thrown in the low-80s, and gets excellent fade and tumble. He regularly telegraphs his change-up, throwing it a lower arm slot and with less explosive arm action than his fastball, but college hitters still had trouble hitting it knowing it was coming. Against more advanced competition, this flaw will need to be worked out in order to maintain the effectiveness of the pitch.

His third pitch is a slurvy curveball that is still in development. The pitch has improved over the course of his college career but is still in general a below-average pitch. With additional break and velocity, the pitch may become more than an occasional throw-in against right-handers to throw off their timing and eye level. They key to this pitch's development is Kay's wrist. He generally releases the pitch with a stiff wrist. If the left-hander is able to loosen and turn over his wrist when he releases the pitch, he will be able to generate more break on the ball.

Over the course of his career, Kay has been able to consistently induce ground balls and weak contact, evidenced by an almost 50% ground ball rate for his career. In 2016, the lefty saw a spike in fly balls, and home runs more specifically, but he has historically excelled at limiting both. Like the pitcher he has tried to model his game off of, Andy Pettitte, Anthony Kay has an excellent move to first. In 2014, he set the University of Connecticut single-season record with eight pick-offs, and in 2015, had more pick-offs (5) than stolen bases allowed (4).

Kay has a somewhat small frame, and as such, maximizes his delivery to get every ounce of velocity he can. He throws from a 3/4 arm slot, hiding the ball well from hitters with his slot and leg kick. There is effort in his arm action, but his delivery primarily generates power from his lower half, making it otherwise clean, repeatable, and free of injury red flags. He repeats his release point well, affording him excellent control, able to command all of his pitches.

Anthony Kay does not have the highest ceiling, but he has a very high floor. A cerebral pitcher, the left-hander maximizes the tools that he has, and is greater than the sum of his parts as a result. There is no reason to think that he will not be able to fulfill his projection as a mid-to-back end starting pitcher. If, for any reason, Kay is unable to do so, he most certainly has the tools to succeed as a left-handed reliever.