Don’t rush Anthony Kay to the Mets just yet

There is a lot of excitement, and all of it is well-deserved, for Anthony Kay. Why shouldn’t there be? He has begun to tear up AA ball for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies this season, and has quickly garnered the eye of fans. With a lot of the inconsistencies coming with this year’s Mets pitching staff, many are looking at Kay as a solution. While it is easy to just slot Kay into the role of rotation saver, that is looking at the problem with a very idealist point of view. It would be nice to be able to simply use Kay in the major league rotation, but the Mets need to be cautiously optimistic when thinking about Kay.

The Kay situation is strikingly similar to that of P.J. Conlon. While Kay is a much more highly regarded prospect than Conlon was coming out of college, both began seeing success in breakout fashion at one level in the minor leagues. For Kay, his breakout level has been AA. For Conlon, it was pitching at A ball in 2016. During that season, Conlon pitched to an 8-1 record with an ERA of 1.84 and WHIP of .996 for the Columbia Fireflies.

It took until 2018 for Conlon to break into the big leagues, which he did after being called up from the Las Vegas 51’s. His short stint in the majors did not go so well, and after having a four day cup of coffee with the Los Angeles Dodgers after he was designated for assignment, Conlon finds himself being a depth pitcher in the minor leagues. Essentially, the Mets rushed their judgement on Conlon, and his quick ascension to the big leagues proved to not work in his favor. While Kay and Conlon are two separate individuals, they have profiles that stack up very similarly to each other.

The obvious similarity that the two share is that they are both left-handed starters. When you dive deeper into things however, it seems that the two are more similar than you’d think. No, Kay was not born in Northern Ireland like Conlon was. Their similarity lies in the style of pitching that they both incorporate. Looking at the scouting reports for Conlon as he was coming up, he was touted for his ability to control the ball, while not possessing the most electric “stuff.”

Kay was known in college for producing a lot of ground ball outs, and focused on contact rather than strikeouts. With Kay starting to gain more national prospect, his manager, Kevin Boles told Tim Britton from the Athletic that Kay is now able to control all three of his pitches, which is something that he had originally struggled with. This is control that Kay had to work towards getting back after his Tommy John surgery.

So what will separate the Long Island native, Kay from the Belfast native? Well to start, Kay has started to develop into more of a strikeout pitcher, thanks to his curve. The pitch has turned from “slurvy” to elite for the southpaw. The Mets should still be cautious when evaluating Kay however, and look to not rush him onto the scene like they did Conlon last season.

7 comments for “Don’t rush Anthony Kay to the Mets just yet

  1. David Klein
    June 1, 2019 at 10:35 am

    Kay is gonna be a top 100 prospect in the mid season prospect list so you lost me with Conlon comp for numerous reasons.

  2. NYM6986
    June 1, 2019 at 10:35 am

    Agree. It’s not like we need another starter now. We need to sign Kimbrel for the pen. Let Kay succeed at AA and then AAA and perhaps he can slot in next year when we are out from Vargas’ salary. By the way, Vargas, for the mos part, has done his job for us as a #5 starter.

  3. Chris B
    June 1, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Kay was part of the 2016 draft in which the Mets selected him and Justin Dunn in the first round and Pete Alonso in the second. If Kay can overcome Dunn in performance then it will soften the blow of the Diaz-Kelenic deal.

    • David Klein
      June 1, 2019 at 4:10 pm

      No it won’t it would be better to have both guys and Kelenic.

  4. Mike Walczak
    June 1, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Dont rush him. Opportunities will open up if Wheeler and/or Syndergaard leave.

  5. Name
    June 1, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    While i agree that i don’t want to see him in the majors right now, i do think the Mets should be aggressive with him as he’s already 24.

    If they’re trying to get full from value from him, he should be making his debut no later than next year in his age 25 season, which would put his FA at age 31 or 32, depending on whether the Mets try to manipulate service time. Trying to delay him even further would mean that you are saying that you’d prefer him in his 30s than 25, which is not something i’d bet on.

    • TJ
      June 1, 2019 at 9:22 pm

      +1

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