In the 2016 MLB Draft, the Mets selected Justin Dunn out of Boston College with the 19th overall pick. A hard throwing righty, the Mets are looking to develop Dunn into a powerful starting pitcher. While at Boston College, Dunn started as a reliever for his first two seasons. When he became a starter though, he truly put himself on the map. Dunn pitched to a 4-2 record with a solid 2.06 ERA. Dunn finished with an impressive 72 strikeouts in 65.2 innings his junior season. Dunn’s fastball clocked in as high as 99 at Boston College, which tempted the Mets enough to draft him in the first round.
Dunn has secondary pitches such as an effective slider, a curve, and a changeup. He makes his money on the fastball though, much like Mets flame thrower Noah Syndergaard. After drafting him, the Mets threw Dunn right into the fire of professional baseball. With the Brooklyn Cyclones, Dunn went 1-1 in eight starts, but did finish with a 1.50 ERA and 35 strikeouts. So how has Dunn performed so far this season? Well, it seems that Dunn is trying to adjust to a higher level of competition.
At High-A St. Lucie, Dunn has so far pitched to a 4-3 record, with a 4.81 ERA. It is also been more difficult for Dunn to rack up strikeouts, as it has taken him 18 innings more to have the same amount of strike outs than he did in Brooklyn. While this may sound alarming to some, I see it simply as Dunn learning to adjust to better hitters. Dunn has very good “stuff” for a starting pitcher. He needs to learn how to control his “stuff” though, as indicated by his 20 walks on the season thus far.
In the same draft, the Mets drafted Peter Alonso from the University of Florida. An offensive first type player, Alonso was known in college for his raw power. In fact, while playing in the 2015 College World Series, he hit the first ever home run that went over the centerfield wall at TD Ameritrade Park in Oklahoma. The wall is 408 feet from the plate. The first baseman will most likely be developed as a one dimensional power hitter, which is starting to become a rarity in the game today. Chris Carter of the Yankees is exactly that, and his role has been limited this season.
At Brooklyn in 2016, the third round pick hit .321 with 5 home runs and 21 RBIs in 30 games. This was impressive for Alonso, who wants to prove that he can not only hit for power, but also average. This year, much like Dunn, Alonso is suffering a little from tougher competition. He is batting a meek .147 with only two home runs and six RBIs. In 30 games in Brooklyn, Alonso had 22 strikeouts. In 18 in St. Lucie, he already has 21. For Alonso to be more successful, he has to learn to become disciplined at the plate, and the better pitches will come to him. This will come with time of course, and players with his raw power usually take time to develop.