By Laura Amato
The New York Mets didn’t have to look very far for some of their first picks in this year’s Major League Baseball Draft.
The reigning National League champs selected three players on the opening night of the draft, two of whom grew up on Long Island, just a short drive from Citi Field.
Justin Dunn, a right-handed pitcher from Boston College, and Anthony Kay, a standout on the mound for UConn, hail from Freeport and Stony Brook respectively, and while the duo never faced off against each other during their high school days, the New York natives are anxious to team up with the Mets.
“I don’t remember ever playing against him or with him, but I always remember hearing the name,” Kay said. “I never got to watch him pitch at BC, but we always played against each other in mid-weeks and stuff. I’ve definitely always heard his name and it’s definitely cool that we were able to get drafted to the same team. especially being from around the same area.”
The Mets have had their eye on Kay for quite some time—and for good reason. The left-hander attended Ward Melville High School in Suffolk County, the alma mater of Steven Matz, and New York is hoping lightning can strike twice when it comes to former Patriots stars.
“I’d say we’re pretty friendly,” Kay said of his relationship with the Mets’ ace. “We talk all the time and we go back (to the high school) in winters. I think it’d be really cool to work with him. It’s awesome.”
While Kay was dealing with his first professional press conference, New York’s first-round pick, Dunn, was out on the field.
The 19th selection in this year’s draft, Dunn and his Boston College Eagles were still competing in the NCAA Tournament on draft weekend. .
Although the squad came up short of a berth to the College World Series, falling to Miami, Dunn’s numbers this season were impressive.
He posted the lowest ERA in the ACC, boasting a 4-1 record, two saves and three combined shutouts in 17 appearances and seven starts.
In addition to the two local prospects, the Mets also selected infielder Peter Alonso with their second-round pick.
A power-hitting star at Florida, Alonso is on the outside looking in when it comes to local ties, but he’s not letting that hinder his excitement. After all, it’s difficult to be too upset when you’re being drafted.
“I mean, we’re all family now so I guess we’re going to get along well now, regardless of where we’re from, doesn’t matter what position,” Alonso said. “We’re part of the same organization, we’re part of the Mets family and we’re teammates now. We’re all on the same playing field now.”
None of the Mets draft picks are quite certain what happens next. There’s a chance the trio could spend some time with the Brooklyn Cyclones in short-season A this summer, but, right now, the three aren’t worried about that. They’re simply letting the last few days sink in.
“I wasn’t really too sure what was going to happen (in the draft),” Kay said. “The Mets selected me and I am very excited for the opportunity.”