Pitching at Double-A this season the Met’s Anthony Kay has been nearly unhittable, posting a 1.07 ERA and 0.77 WHIP over 50.2 IP. On Monday night he actually was unhittable, tossing 7.0 hitless frames while walking 1 and striking out 7. When the Mets traded some of their best prospects this offseason, particularly in the deal that brought in Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, there were questions as to if someone would emerge. The 2016 first round pick has answered the bell thus far.
The southpaw entered Monday’s start with a 9.27 K/9 and 3.30 BB/9, and neither of those changed dramatically. In fact his control has been improved of late, walking 3 batters over his last 21.0 IP. Whether he can maintain that or not will be paramount to his success (he had a 4.56 BB/9 n 53.1 IP after being promoted to High-A last season), especially since he’s never shown a propensity to generate groundballs (GO/AO):
- Single-A (69.1 IP) – 1.16
- High-A (53.1 IP) – 0.83
- Double-A (50.2 IP) – 0.56
That could lead to home run issues at the next level, and if the control wavers that could lead to some troubling results.
That’s not to say that Kay hasn’t taken a significant step forward and should be completely ignored. Prior to the season Baseball America noted how things had changed in terms of his repertoire:
“Kay returned to the hill in 2018 as a different pitcher than he was in college. More a fastball/changeup lefty at Connecticut, he emerged in pro ball with a vicious, top-to-bottom 80 mph curveball that he locates to both sides of the plate. His peak curveball approached 3,000 revolutions per minute, while his average spin rate ranked inside the top 10 percent in the minors. Kay tops out at 96 mph and sits 92-94 with an above-average, high-spin fastball that plays at the top of the zone in conjunction with his curve and mid-80s changeup at the bottom of the zone. His change flashes above-average potential and sinking action.”
The change in stuff does add to the intrigue, and he’s making it work even against tougher competition. There have started to be some whispers about Kay being an answer for the Mets at the Major League level, as their season appears to be spinning out of control, but a fast push could be a mistake. There are questions and he needs to answer them before he can be trusted. He’s worth keeping an eye on, but even if he’s promoted now the risk would outweigh the reward.
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball America