Today on Jays Journal’s annual Top 30 prospect rankings at the #7 spot on our list we take a closer look at left-handed pitcher Anthony Kay.
Name: Anthony Kay Position: Starting Pitcher
Height: 6’0” Weight: 218 lbs
Throws: Left Bats: Left
Acquired from New York Mets with Simeon Woods Richardson for Marcus Stroman on July 28, 2019
2019 Level: AA, AAA, MLB
In 2013, The New York Mets made Anthony Kay the second player drafted out of Ward Melville High School after they had selected Steve Matz four years prior. Unlike Matz, Kay elected not to sign and went on to the University of Connecticut. Kay had three successful seasons in Connecticut, specifically his final year.
Kay finished the season with a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio and a 9-2 record with a 2.65 ERA which led to the Mets drafting him once again, this time in the first round (31st Overall) in June 2016 (10 picks after T.J. Zeuch).
Kay agreed on a signing bonus with the Mets, which was a little over half of what his slot value was at $1.1 million due to concerns over some elbow issues that came up in his physical. The worries ended up coming to fruition as he went under Tommy John Surgery in the fall of 2016. The concerns and surgery left Kay off the mound between when he finished his collegiate career until 2018.
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Kay would make his professional debut in 2018, starting for the Mets Single-A – South Atlantic League team in Columbia. Kay made 13 starts posting a 4-4 record with a 4.54 ERA, but his control was very impressive as he had a nearly 4:1 strikeout to walk rate.
This led Kay being moved up to High A in St. Lucie for his final 10 starts where his ERA went down, but his walks went up as it dropped to a 2:1 rate, but would finish the season as #5 on the MLB Pipelines Top 30 New York Mets prospects.
In 2019, the Mets would start Kay in AA Binghamton where he was a star and got things back under control. Kay would make 12 starts post a 3:1 strikeout to walk rate, a 1.49 ERA and minuscule 0.92 WHIP to go with a 7-3 record.
His performance would have him move up to AAA Syracuse and have the Blue Jays taking notice of him. Things did not look well when he first got moved up as he allowed at least four runs in three of his seven starts. However, July 28, 2019 wold see him change uniforms as he was packaged with another Mets pitching prospect Simeon Woods Richardson for the polarizing Blue Jays pitching ace Marcus Stroman.
When the Blue Jays acquired Kay they immediately assigned him to Buffalo where he would pitch for the Bisons three days later. Kay was the victim of some poor defense, himself include when he made one error and third basemen Patrick Kivlehan made two errors. The poor defense would lead to seven runs (three earned) over 4.2 IP. Kay would settle into his role with the Bisons as over his next five starts he went 2-0 with 1.26 ERA with 33 strikeouts over 28.2 IP.
On September 2, 2019, Anthony Kay would get called up for the Blue Jays and made his major league debut in Tampa Bay five days later. Kay looked sharp in his debut pitching into the sixth inning strikeout out eight batters on four hits and 2 earned runs. Kay wound up with three starts and picked up his first MLB win on September 19 against the Baltimore Orioles before being shut down for the season with nearly 150 innings pitched on four different teams in two organizations.
Kay currently has three pitches in his arsenal, which is a fastball, changeup, and curveball. According to baseball savant, Kay relies heavily on his four-seam fastball (62%) of the time, while his changeup and curveball both sit around 19% each. Kay’s four-seam fastball sits around 93-94 mph, while his changeup has an 8mph drop-off.
Jays Journal – 8th
MLB Pipeline – 4th
Prospects Live – 11th
Kay will have a chance to prove himself in Spring Training but is most likely destined for AAA Buffalo to start the season where he will compete with other top pitching prospects to be called up for the Blue Jays. If 2019 has any indication on how injuries will occur on the Blue Jays roster we should see Kay several times in Toronto this season. Kay projects more of a 4-5 in the rotation and to be a key component moving forward for the Blue Jays.
Anthony Kay has been very engaging with fans on Twitter since the second he was acquired by the Blue Jays. One of his first requests was he wanted a photo of him wearing his Blue Jays gear and was ready to sport the gear before ever wearing it on the field:
If you want some entertainment go to his twitter account on July 30, 2019, as he was trying to learn as much as he could about Canada and Toronto. This engagement has now left him a love for All Dressed Chips.
I think Anthony Kay will get a good amount of starts this season with the Blue Jays, it just may not be until June or July. Kay should be a part of the starting rotation for years to come.
What are your thoughts?