College star ready to take the mound for the Mets

Mets first-round pick Justin Dunn is ready to get back on the mound and get his pro career started with the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Photo by Laura Amato
By Laura Amato

Justin Dunn was sitting in a restaurant in Miami a few weeks ago when his phone started to ring.

He knew who was on the other line—or at least he hoped he knew—but it took him a few seconds to actually muster up the courage to pick up.

He did and his life changed forever.

Dunn, who just wrapped up his junior season at Boston College, had been drafted by the Mets in the first round of the MLB Draft, selected 19th overall.

Now, Dunn, who had been surrounded by his BC teammates when he received that all-important phone call, is ready to get his pro career underway after reporting to the Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones earlier this week.

“I mean I can’t really describe it. It was kind of what I was hoping for from the start of the year,” Dunn said. “I wanted to get picked up around my teammates. They’ve been my brothers and I’ve been around them through the ups and downs of my college career. So to be able to share that with them was awesome.”

Dunn had been hoping to hear his name called during this year’s draft and while he wasn’t focusing on one team over another, he had to admit that he’s pretty happy to have signed with the Mets. After all, the team has a bit of a reputation for putting talent on the mound.

“I had hoped that Mets would be one of the teams because you see what they do with their pitching staff,” Dunn said. “You can’t ask for anything else. So to be picked up by them was huge. I was excited.”

Dunn has been working with the Mets’ pitching staff over the last few days, trying to get back into the metaphorical swing of things.

It was a long spring for the Freeport, L.I., native, who helped lead Boston College to the program’s first-ever NCAA super regional appearance. Despite wrapping up his career with a loss, the former Eagles ace is determined to build upon his collegiate success and, more importantly, showcase his arsenal of pitches.

“I have what, I think, are three pretty good pitches that can play at the next level,” Dunn said. “I think they’re expecting me to come in and do what I did in college and get better and develop.”

Dunn’s 1.49 ERA at Boston College last season currently tops the team’s records and Dunn has built a career on breaking down opposing batters. His game isn’t just about his arm. It’s about the mental aspect as well, staring down hitters and finding that one pitch that will result in a swing and a miss.

“I have to pitch,” he said. “I can’t just air my arm out. That’s been huge for me.”

Dunn has been told he’ll be on an innings limit during his time in Brooklyn, likely held to two or three innings per start. The limited time doesn’t bother Dunn. He understands he’s a work in progress. He’s just anxious to get to work.

“They’re going to take it kind of slow, build me back into it,” Dunn said. “I’m counting down the days to when I’ll be able to get out there and pitch in this uniform.”

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