The Mets have signed left-handed pitcher Anthony Kay, their second selection in the 2016 draft, for a below-slot deal around $1,100,000 against a slot of $1,972,100. Kay’s bargaining power reportedly fell due to elbow concerns that came up during his physical. Due to their savings on Kay, the Mets also locked up 11th-round pick and right-handed pitcher Cameron Planck to an overslot deal worth around $1,000,000, against a slot of $100,000.
A polished 6’0”, 185 pound lefty from the University of Connecticut, Kay has been on the Mets’ radar for years. The team drafted him in the 29th round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Steven Matz’s alma mater, Ward Melville HS, but Kay elected to go to college. Kay brings to the table a three-pitch mix consisting of a low-90s fastball that maxes out at 95 MPH, a changeup in the low-80s that scouts call above-average, and a slurvy curveball that is still a work in progress. With these tools, Kay fits the mold of a low-ceiling, high-floor college pick. If Kay plays in the minors this year, it will likely be for the Brooklyn Cyclones, though the Mets may choose to rest him due to the balky elbow. A more complete profile of Kay can be read here.
Anthony Kay’s questionable physical allowed Alderson & Co. to reallocate funds toward signing their 11th-rounder, RHP Cameron Planck. As a player, Planck could not be more different from Kay. Planck recently finished a dominant senior season in the Kentucky High School Athletics Association where he struck out 132 batters in 74.1 innings against only 21 walks. Planck turned down a pre-draft deal with the Mets for third-round money, but they selected him anyway. With Kay’s elbow barking, the Mets found a way to offer Planck the million he needed to opt out of his commitment to the University of Louisville.
Cameron Planck is not your average projectable high school pick. He is already mostly filled out at 6’3” and 225 pounds. On the mound, he already touches 96 MPH while sitting in the low-90s. Planck’s repertoire is rounded out by a breaking ball and a changeup, both of which sit in the mid-80s. As one might expect of a mid-round high school pick, Planck’s off-speed pitches are works in progress, and he has issues repeating his release point. Though Planck does not have much room to grow, the Mets are betting on the ability to their vaunted St. Lucie pitching manufacturing line to smooth out Planck’s edges so he can maintain his release point and velocity. Look for Planck to appear for the Kingsport or GCL Mets, if he debuts this year. A more complete profile of Planck can be found here.
In adding Kay and Planck to their farm system, the Mets have made progress towards rebuilding the kind of minor league pitching depth that helped them open their current window of contention. Elbow issues aside, Kay has a chance to provide solid innings in the near future. Planck has the higher chance of flaming out and disappearing into the ether, but he also has a chance at being a mid-rotation arm or more.