Anthony Kay, the junior from Stony Brook, New York, is officially a professional baseball player. The New York Mets signed the left-handed pitcher to a minor league contract on Wednesday with a $1.1 million bonus, well below the slot value of $1.972 million.
Kay threw 119.0 innings for the Huskies this year in 17 starts, leading the team in starts and innings. For comparison, Tim Cate threw 82.1 innings in 13 starts and a relief appearance. Cate was second in both starts and innings pitched.
As a result of Kay's heavy use, particularly in the postseason, where he made three starts in 11 days, there were concerns by the Mets' training staff. According to Jim Callis, the concern is with Kay's throwing elbow. He was among the nation's leaders in innings pitched this season. This concern led to Kay signing below slot value and also potentially led to the delay in signing him after he was drafted over a month ago, on June 9.
Keith Law is critical of Kay's use and has taken multiple jabs at the baseball program on Twitter since the conference tournament.
Kay had an elbow issue that came up in postdraft physical. Faced 36 batters in an 18-1 win vs Fullerton in March. https://t.co/Kv0YzqGlEZ— keithlaw (@keithlaw) July 13, 2016
Kay hit a high of 36 batters faced, doing so twice; once on March 11 in an 18-1 blowout against William & Mary and once on May 25 in an AAC Tournament win over Memphis. Over his 17 starts, he averaged 28.82 batters faced. In the game with William & Mary, UConn was up 6-0 after five and had a nine-run sixth.
As for pitches, there isn't any count for his start in the blowout against William & Mary, but over his remaining 16 starts, he averaged 103.43 pitches per start, hitting a high of 117 in a 3-2 win over Houston. Except for the final weekend of the season, where he pitched on Thursday and the conference tournament, he exclusively pitched on Fridays.
In an 11-day stretch from May 19 to May 29, Kay made three starts, two of which were in the conference tournament. He faced 26 batters, throwing 101 pitches in a start against USF, followed by another 101 pitch outing on May 25, tying his high of 36 batters faced. His final start on the 29th saw him throw 90 pitches, facing 26 batters. Kay pitched 3.0 innings after a 63-minute weather delay, something that is very uncommon. Teams typically lift their starter if they have to sit that long.