On Wednesday night, Keith Law, the Worldwide Leader's foremost baseball prospect expert, released his first mock draft in advance of the June 9-11 MLB First Year Player Draft.
Law has UConn pitcher Anthony Kay tabbed as the 27th overall pick in the draft, going to the Baltimore Orioles. The pick is the fourth pick of the Compensation Round, which is for teams who have impending free agents decline a qualifying offer in the previous offseason. Kay is also listed at 36 on his Top 100 Big Board.
Kay is the next big prospect to come out of UConn during the Jim Penders era, after former first rounders Matt Barnes and George Springer, both of which were drafted in 2011. He is a left hander from Stony Brook, New York who has been the Huskies' Friday starter this season, after starting on Saturday in 2015 behind Carson Cross.
Kay has been the most consistent pitcher for the Huskies this season. In 91.1 innings, he has made 13 starts, posting an ERA of 2.46, good for 10th in the American Athletic Conference. He has also allowed opposing hitters to hit only .214 against him, which is sixth in the conference. Kay also has a WHIP of 1.10. He is third in strikeouts, with 90, and fourth in the conference in batting average against with runners on, at .194.
In his start against the top team in the American, Tulane, Kay was on fire. He brought a perfect game into the sixth inning, retiring the first 16 batters he faced. In the sixth, he allowed three walks and subsequently gave up a grand slam, but he was able to rebound in the seventh inning, where there was a runner on third with one out that he did not allow to cross the plate. His final line was 7.0 innings pitched, four earned runs, two hits, eight strikeouts and three walks, all of which came in the sixth.
Against Houston, Kay struck out seven batters, allowing six hits and two runs, with one earned, throwing 8.1 innings. That game was a pitcher's duel against Houston's star pitcher, Andrew Lantrip. It was only a 3-2 game, with the Huskies not taking the lead until the sixth, but Kay pitched into the ninth inning, and was still hitting 92 on the gun after more than 100 pitches.
Kay has also been hitting his stride lately, only allowing five earned runs in his last five starts over 38.1 innings, with 36 strikeouts. Those starts have all been against conference opponents in UCF, Memphis, Houston and East Carolina twice.
Kay throws three pitches. His fastball that sits at 92-94 mph, but has touched 96. His changeup has been described as one of the best in the class by Hudson Belinsky of Baseball America. It sits at around 83 mph and has late diving action. His third pitch, his curveball, is exactly that. It needs improvement for him to be a starter at the major league level, and a professional pitching coach should be able to help with that. Scouts have also said he might be able to work a cutter into his repertoire once in the professional ranks.
For those of you with ESPN Insider, you can read the Law's entire mock here.