Not all of those innings came as a member of the Mets organization. Traded to the Toronto Blue Jays mid-year as part of the Marcus Stroman deal, Kay would later make his MLB debut that same year.
Since then, Kay has pitched 68.2 total MLB innings. The results have been poor with a 5.50 ERA. Equally as devastating is how he has performed in the minor leagues. Kay is 0-3 with a 9.64 ERA in 23.1 innings in Triple-A for Toronto this year.
Former Mets prospect Anthony Kay hasn’t lived up to the hype
Now 26, Kay is at a crossroads in his career. I think this age is a good point where a player either takes a major leap forward or fizzles out. It’s not the complete end to his or anyone else’s opportunity to develop into a quality big leaguer. Look no further than current Mets pitcher Rich Hill or another guy familiar with getting traded from New York to Toronto, R.A. Dickey.
But those incredibly late bloomers with star pedigrees are few.
Kay’s major issue has been his control. Averaging 4.8 walks per nine in the big leagues, it has been even worse when coupled with an increase in the number of home runs he has allowed. In 2021, Kay allowed 7 long balls in only 33.2 innings of work for an average of 1.9 per nine innings of work.
The time for Kay to shine as a big league starter may be coming to a close. However, there’s one more step I would always recommend a team make whenever a young player with talent struggles. Moving Kay into a relief role permanently might be the next ingredient in his career.
Kay’s big league career actually does include 20 relief appearances compared to just 7 starts. Although the results haven’t been there, this could be partially attributed to going down to the minors and starting. Baseball players are so habitual that you need to give them every opportunity to get into a routine.
Despite these poor numbers, Kay remains one of the best in the world at playing baseball. That’s always the case with anyone on a professional roster—maybe not Tim Tebow.
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Somewhere, definitely wearing a suit, former Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen is probably enjoying Kay’s struggles. Many roasted him for the Stroman trade that cost them Kay and fellow prospect Simeon Woods-Richardson. While there’s no verdict yet on the latter (now with the Minnesota Twins), dealing Kay away seems to have been a good move still paying off for the Mets in 2021.