The All Star Futures Game is always one of the most underrated events of All Star week. While most of the baseball world focuses on the Home Run Derby and the All Star Game, the Futures Game on Sunday showcases some of the game’s brightest future stars. The New York Mets have seen plenty of prominent players appear in the Futures Game over the years, including Noah Syndergaard back in 2013, Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith a few years ago, and Pete Alonso just last season. The Mets sent one prospect to the Futures Game this year, left handed starter Anthony Kay, and he is the focus of this week’s special edition of Minor League Mondays.
Kay worked the fourth inning for the NL side and worked around a single to toss a scoreless frame. The most impressive part of Kay’s outing was the fact that he recorded a strikeout against Luis Robert, the fifth rated prospect in all of baseball. That has to be an encouraging sign for Kay, who the Mets are hoping can fill a spot in the big league rotation in the near future.
Kay started the year in AA Binghamton and dominated the Eastern League, going 7-3 with a 1.49 ERA in 12 starts. The Mets bumped Kay up to AAA Syracuse a few weeks ago and he has struggled against the more advanced competition, going 0-3 with a 9.64 ERA in his first four starts. That isn’t surprising since Kay is now dealing with more sophisticated hitters one step away from the majors, but perhaps this strong showing here can serve Kay well when he reports back to Syracuse in the coming days.
The Mets should have openings in their rotation coming soon with both Zack Wheeler and Jason Vargas likely trade candidates before July 31. Kay will have to pitch better to earn one of those spots after the deadline, but the opportunity will surely be there for him to contribute. Assuming things get better at Syracuse, the Mets would be well advised to bring him up to the big leagues in September to get his feet wet at the highest level. Seeing how Kay handles life as a big leaguer would give the Mets some much needed information into how much pitching depth the franchise needs to acquire over the winter.
The Mets also got to see two of their former prospects compete for the American League in the Futures Game, with Justin Dunn and Jarred Kelenic (both dealt away in the infamous Robinson Cano-Edwin Diaz deal) representing the Seattle Mariners. Kelenic, who is now in High-A ball for the Mariners, went 0 for 2 in the game while Dunn pitched a scoreless second inning for the AL.