Mets Remain Bullish On Justin Dunn

Justin Dunn‘s first full season in pro baseball was a struggle, but the Mets’ commitment to the 22-year-old fireballing righthander hasn’t wavered.

The 2016 first-round pick out of Boston College scuffled at high Class A St. Lucie last year, recording a 5.00 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 20 appearances and missing the final three weeks with shoulder fatigue.

Dunn, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, was used mostly as a reliever during his first two college seasons before switching to the rotation as a junior.

“He didn’t pitch a lot in college, so when he got to pro ball it’s all new to him, starting and going through all that stuff,” a Mets talent evaluator said. “He is just finding himself right now, but (he has a) good arm, good stuff, good competitor, good athlete.”

Dunn walked 48 batters in 95.1 innings last season as he struggled with command of his 95 mph fastball. His slider is his next-best pitch.

In 2016 he thrived at short-season Brooklyn, logging a 1.50 ERA and 1.167 WHIP in 11 appearances. That success prompted team officials to let Dunn bypass low Class A Columbia.

“He went from the New York-Penn League to the Florida State League, (and) that is a big jump for somebody who didn’t pitch a lot in college,” the evaluator said. “I think you will see his numbers improve this year. He is a good one. He just needs time.”

And that chance to develop will come in a starting role.

“Ultimately he might be a reliever, but right now he is a starter,” the evaluator said.

Dunn belongs to a group of young pitchers the Mets hope will represent the next wave, behind Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz, all of whom were developed within the organization. Other than Dunn, the Mets have lefthander Anthony Kay, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery that cost him the 2017 season, and 2017 first-round pick David Peterson, a lefthander from Oregon.

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