New York Mets prospects

Mets first round draft pick Justin Dunn sparkles in first professional start

By Michael Lecolant
Jul 20, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; A baseball rests on top of the mound before a game between the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Chicago, 6-5, in eleven innings. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 20, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; A baseball rests on top of the mound before a game between the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Chicago, 6-5, in eleven innings. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New York Mets 2016 first round draft pick, RHP Justin Dunn, made his much-anticipated first start of his professional career.

It came on Saturday, July 23, at MCU Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn, against the New York-Penn League’s Aberdeen Iron Birds in front of a robust crowd of 6,469 anxious family members, excited friends, and supportive Cyclones fans.

As part of a prescribed work schedule the Mets previously limited Dunn to just two inning appearances every sixth day, and wound up making three appearances during his build-up for this week’s start.

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Dunn was extended to three innings Saturday, and what a fine outing it was.  At a minimum, his performance continues reinforcing the notion general manager Sandy Alderson potentially drafted something special.

On a day of sweltering 94 degree heat, Dunn picked up where he left off last week by dazzling hitters again with a mid-to-high 90s mph fastball, an exceptional change, and a sharp breaking slider and curve.

Dunn faced 12 Aberdeen batters, throwing 53 pitches with 35 going for strikes.  He allowed no runs on just two hits and a walk, and even hit a batter for good measure. Although he did not receive credit for the Brooks’ eventual 7-2 victory over Aberdeen, Dunn ended his appearance the same way it began – with a strikeout.  He fanned five overall, three swinging and two looking helplessly.

In four appearances with the Cyclones, he’s now thrown the equivalent of a complete game.  He earned one relief victory and sports a 1.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over nine innings pitched, with seven hits allowed, four walks, and 11 strikeouts.  Opposing batters are so far hitting .233 against him.

Dunn spent the majority of his three years with the Boston College Eagles pitching out of the bullpen until finally getting transitioned into the starting rotation as a junior.  In 2016, he made 18 appearances and eight starts, posting a 4-2 record with two saves and a 2.06 ERA.  In 65.2 innings pitched, Justin allowed 52 hits and 18 walks, with 72 strikeouts.  Opposing hitters batted just .214 against him.

The Mets thought enough of Dunn’s efforts to make him the 19th overall selection of this year’s June draft.

Next: Alderson says Mets are targeting bullpen help

If you take away his very last start of the season (made the weekend of the draft), in which he allowed five runs on six hits and two walks, with six strikeouts, then his 2016 collegiate line reflects that much more impressively.

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