3 former Mets prospects who have fallen from grace

MLB First-Year Player Draft
MLB First-Year Player Draft / Jeff Zelevansky/GettyImages
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The major league amateur draft has been held every year since 1965. This is baseball’s attempt to evenly distribute the nation's new young talent throughout the MLB teams. To accomplish this, the draft is conducted in reverse order of the teams’ records from the previous season. It will still take several years before most of these prospects are ready for the major leagues, if ever. Projecting how these prospects will develop in years down the road makes this process somewhere between a science and a roll of the dice. 

When a young player is drafted, particularly in the first round, he immediately becomes a celebrity. He will be introduced at the home stadium, interviewed on sports talk shows, and you may even see his jersey available in stores. But keep in mind that this fame is short lived. There will be a new kid in town here in next year’s draft. This won't stop the club from promoting today’s prospect as a can’t miss future star of the franchise, the next Tom Seaver or Darryl Strawberry.

Sometimes this is true. Most times it is not. In 1966, the Mets had the first pick of the draft and chose a catcher named Steve Chilcott. You probably never heard of him as he never made it to the big leagues. The second selection of that same draft was future Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson. Sometimes, that’s just how it goes.

In recent years the Mets have had several prospects who have made it to the big club and had successful careers, players like David Wright Jose Reyes. As fans, we believe that many of today's prospects will follow their path and play for the Mets. Chances are that some of them will make it. They may even become stars. Chances are better that most of them won't live up to the hype.

But, what about the high hopes we had for our last group of future stars? What happened to them and where are they now?

1) Former NY Mets prospect who has fallen from grace: Justin Dunn

Justin Dunn is a pitcher who was taken by the Mets in the first round of the 2016 amateur draft. Since he was the 19th overall selection, he was immediately assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones. Dunn was ranked as the Mets #3 prospect in both 2017 and 2018 by MLB.com and Mets fans couldn’t wait to see him pitch at Citi Field. Then something happened to change the course of his professional career. On December 3, 2018, the Mets traded Dunn, Jay Bruce, Jarred Kelenic, Anthony Swarzak, and Gerson Bautista to the Seattle Mariners for Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano, and $20 million. Fans were outraged to see Dunn and some of the team's best young talent traded away for an aging superstar and a young relief pitcher.

Justin Dunn spent 2019 with the Arkansas Travelers going 9-5 and being named to the 2019 All-Star Futures game. He was brought up to the major league and over the course of the next three season pitched to a record of 5-4 with an ERA of 4.03. Then the bottom fell out. On August19, 2021, Justin Dunn was put on the 60 day injured list with a shoulder strain and was shut down for the season.

On March 14, 2022, Justin Dunn was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. He would begin his time with the new team on the 60 day injured list due to the same shoulder injury. He would eventually go 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA in seven appearances for Cincinnati. On March 4, 2023, Dunn was shut down again to allow his shoulder inflammation to heal. He was later diagnosed with a right rotator cuff strain and will be lost for the remainder of the season. Justin Dunn plans to get healthy and pitch again in 2024.