Why the Mets shouldn’t rush to call up prospect Anthony Kay

PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 21: Anthony Kay #79 of the New York Mets poses for a photo on Photo Day at First Data Field on February 21, 2019 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 21: Anthony Kay #79 of the New York Mets poses for a photo on Photo Day at First Data Field on February 21, 2019 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

New York Mets prospect Anthony Kay has had an excellent start to the season in Double-A Binghamton. Though he could potentially see big league action this year, the team needs to be cautious about promoting him too soon.

For those who are unaware, Anthony Kay is a 24-year-old, left-handed pitching prospect who is currently playing with the New York Mets Double-A Binghamton team known to the locals as the Rumble Ponies.

A Long Island native, he was originally drafted by the Mets in the first round with the 31st overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft, however, he underwent Tommy John surgery immediately following the draft and did not pitch in New York’s minor league system until the 2018 season.

Kay has had an excellent start to the 2019 season, as to this point in the year, he has started 10 games for Binghamton, including one complete game shutout, logging a 1.28 ERA in 56.1 innings with a win-loss record of 6-2, striking out 56 batters while walking only 20.

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Most notably, in his start on Monday, May 21, he pitched 7 no-hit innings but was removed after the 7th inning due to his pitch-count being managed.

With such a promising young prospect currently thriving in the minor leagues, and many of the pitchers on the major league roster struggling or missing time due to injury, many are speculating that Kay could be the answer to the Mets problems.

It is not unheard of for players to be called up from the minor leagues before playing in Triple-A, as the Mets did this with Michael Conforto back in July of 2015 for that year’s World Series run. However, I believe that doing this with Kay would not be a smart decision.

While the Mets could use a talented young southpaw such as Kay on the Major League team, they should be cautious not to rush him up to the big leagues just yet.

As stated, Kay is only two months into his second season with the organization after recovering from Tommy John surgery, and while dominating, this is still only in Double-A, and he is facing much less experienced and talented hitters than he would be in the Majors.

Bringing him up early may stunt his growth as a pitcher, as if he struggles upon a premature call-up, his development will regress and he will likely be returned to the minors. There is also the issue of his lack of experience pitching deep into the season.

In 2018, he started 23 games in Single-A logging 122.2 innings, which is the most he has pitched for his career. If he were to be called up to the Majors as a starter, he would be expected to pitch over 200 innings by the end of the year.

Especially after coming off of a serious surgery, overworking Kay would be a poor decision long-term for the Mets, as after his performance thus far this season, he looks to be a future staple of our rotation. In my opinion, that is not worth risking for this gamble.

Some may recall that in the 2014 season, Mets fans were awaiting the debut of Noah Syndergaard, who began the season in Triple-A. However, they delayed his call up until May of the 2015 season to make sure that he was major league ready.

They were cautious with a player they knew was going to be one of the centerpieces of their franchise, and I think that they should act similarly with Kay going forward.

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This would not rule out a September call up for Anthony Kay, as I do believe we will see him on the big league roster sooner rather than later, but with all of the injuries the team is suffering this early in the season, they should avoid the temptation of rushing their young pitching prospect up too soon.