As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we'll be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Mets camp, it was No. 3 prospect Justin Dunn. PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Justin Dunn was the Mets' top pick in the 2016
As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we'll be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Mets camp, it was No. 3 prospect Justin Dunn.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Justin Dunn was the Mets' top pick in the 2016 Draft, going 19th overall after an outstanding junior season at Boston College. The 21-year-old right-hander was just as impressive during his professional debut in the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League, where he posted a 1.50 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 30 innings while making 11 appearances (eight starts) for the Brooklyn Cyclones.
MLBPipeline.com: Your first two seasons at Boston College were kind of uneven as you worked mostly out of the bullpen. But clearly something clicked for you as a junior, especially once you moved into the starting rotation. What do you attribute that to?
• Mets' Top 30 Prospects list
:: MLB Pipeline Spring Training reports ::
Dunn: Honestly, I give a lot of credit to my catcher Nick Sciortino, first of all. Coach [Jim] Foster was also huge for me, especially with breaking down the mental side of the game. I used to just go out there and throw -- I have a good arm and could throw it by people -- but I didn't understand what I was doing and how to use my stuff. When coach Foster came on board my sophomore year, it all just started to jump off the chart for me. And when Nick and I became roommates, and we became closer with Mike King, another pitcher on our staff, we would sit around and break down hitters and talk about how to best use our stuff. Starting to understand and apply the mental side of the game definitely helped me find balance as a starter.
MLBPipeline.com: Did you know the Mets were going to take you in the first round?
Dunn: A lot of the mock drafts -- which I try not to pay attention to but also are tough to ignore -- had me going with the 11th overall pick. My agent said I might go higher but that No. 11 seemed like a realistic spot for me, because the Mariners had shown interest and we'd met a few times. I hadn't talked to the Mets before they picked me, so it took me by surprise. I was ecstatic. I grew up in Long Island, 30 minutes from Citi Field. It was kind of hard to believe that's where I was going.
MLBPipeline.com: After a long college season, what was the transition to pro ball like for you?
Dunn: It wasn't too big of an adjustment having playing in the ACC, because a lot of the guys I faced in the New York-Penn League were guys I faced in college. Beyond that, I just tried to build off what I did in college and take that same mentality into the season.
MLBPipeline.com: What has it been like to be around all of these young Mets starters in your first Spring Training? What specifically have you learned from them?
• Mets Spring Training Report
Dunn: I've been just trying to keep my mouth shut and go about my business, because I don't know the swing of things yet. I've more been hanging around guys like Thomas Szapucki, David Roseboom and Corey Oswalt, guys who have been through this before, to try to understand the flow of camp and the mentality I should have. So, I've just been trying to follow their example and learn the best I can.
MLBPipeline.com: What specifically are you working on this spring ahead of your first full season?
Dunn: My changeup, which should be a big pitch for me when I get that down, and I'm also working to add a front-door two-seamer to throw against lefties. The two-seamer helps me mechanically, too, because I need to stay closed with my delivery for the pitch to run back like I want it to, and that also helps me stay through all my other pitches.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.