Top Overall Pick Inks With Mets

Tuesday was a landmark day for the Mets as they signed their top overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft, reliever Eddie Kunz. After much deliberation and wait, the Mets got their man, and he will soon report to his first professional squad. Inside Pitch spoke with Kunz to get his thoughts on what lies ahead.

At the time when the majority of draft picks signed and reported to their teams, top pick Eddie Kunz completed another magical season at Oregon State. For the second straight year, Kunz anchored the back of a bullpen on a College World Series championship team.

"It was amazing. It's one feeling to win one national championship, but to win back-to-back is on a whole different level. We had a great group of guys that never stopped working. We were real close, and we just got it done in the end. It was the goal at the start of the season and we did it," he said.

He left school after his junior year, but at that high level, post-season experience cannot be undervalued. The pressures of the college baseball tournament has prepared him for his future role as a closer in the Mets' system.

"I think, definitely, the work I did for my team prepared me for this role at the next level," he said. "Not only in conference, but all the post-season games, they were so intense that I can't figure I'll feel pressure like that again very soon."

Many fans quivered with angst waiting for his signing to become official. They wondered what took so long and what happened behind the scenes. Kunz explained :

"It was definitely a process, but it was not too bad. We tinkered with a few things here and there, but it wasn't too much of a problem," he said. "There were just little things I had questions about and they would go back, check things and work out the details. I wanted to make sure there were no problems and that I could go forward without anything hanging over."

Now that his signing is in the past, Kunz reflected on what it means to be a first-round pick. He realized the magnitude of the distinction, and holds it to be personally significant.

"It means a whole lot. I didn't really expect myself to be drafted that high, but now that time has passed since the draft, it really is big for me. There were only 60-something guys drafted in the first rounds and to be included in that group is an honor," he explained.

With this time away from the diamond, Kunz maintained conditioning by working out at his alma mater before heading east. Since he pitched as deep into a season as possible, he did take a brief time off. But, come ten days after the College World Series, he was back out there.

"I took some time at home in Portland, didn't even pick up a ball, but after that, I went back to Corvallis and got my work in. At first, it was just light work, getting some tossing in. Then, the following week, I got back to pitching in levels and got ready to report to the club. I knew I wasn't going to be completely ready, but at least half-way so that by the time I got to my specific team, I'd be 100%," he detailed.

In 31 games pitched this season at Oregon State, he threw 46 1/3 innings with a 3-1 record and a 2.91 ERA. Most notable of his statistics was his .194 opponents' batting average. His strong season, and that prior post-season experience, will allow his transition to professional ball to be a smooth one.

"I think it will be pretty easy. There will be differences between the minors and college ball, like the bats for example," he said. "But the program I just came from definitely helped in making the switch easy. I'll have new guys to play with and coaches to work with, but I think I'll squeeze in well."

The next step for Kunz will be his upcoming trip to St. Lucie where he will work back to game strength. After about ten days at the Mets' complex, he will be off to Brooklyn. Although, if he impresses with a very strong workout, a slight chance exists that he may stay right there in St. Lucie and join the Single-A Mets. However, with Brooklyn in first place in the NY-Penn League, the organization most likely will lean towards placing Kunz on team in contention for its league title.

"Coming off college, I threw really well down the stretch at the end of the season. I think I can keep that going wherever I end up, but Brooklyn sounds like an exciting place and they're winning their share of ballgames," he said.

"They've got a real good team and very strong pitching from what I've heard and seen in the stats," he said. "It would be great to go from my team in Oregon State to another first-place team in Brooklyn. Either way to me, I'd come out, pitch the way I can and help continue the great season they've had going on."

On the mound, Kunz possesses a mature repertoire. He is known for his heavy, sinking fastball in the low-to-mid 90's, but he also throws a reliable changeup as well as a slider. It is the latter two pitches that will receive attention as he makes way into his career.

"I want to get as consistent as possible," said Kunz. "My fastball is where I want it to be. My changeup has been there when I needed it, but I want it there every time. Mostly, I want to work on my secondary pitches and find out how they work best for me."

Right from the start, one development to watch is how he holds up against the other draftees who now have a month of seasoning under their belt. Other top pitching selections, like Eric Niesen, Stephen Clyne (both 3rd round), Dan McDonald (8th round) and Will Morgan (12th round), all have at least ten games to their credit. If Brooklyn is Kunz's destination, how he is used out of the loaded Cyclones' bullpen will be an interesting storyline.

However, he shrugged off the notion that his late start may put him behind the proverbial eight ball in comparison to his possible upcoming teammates.

"I'm not really worried about it because I like to work my butt off. If they think I'm behind, I'll catch up. It's something that I pride on myself that I'll work hard or harder than any other guy out there. Either way, I want to get in, work hard and hopefully I can go out there and win some games," he said with confidence.

As a product of the West Coast, growing up in Portland and attending Oregon State, Kunz has never played ball on the East Coast. His pending addition to the Cyclones' roster will surely be a change of scenery to say the least. The number one draft pick, playing in the New York atmosphere from day one of his career, is sure to attract a great amount of attention from the local media. Yet, Kunz is quick to deflect the idea that the media will get to him.

"I was at the game (on Tuesday), threw a bullpen and when I came in, there were probably 35 reporters there. I'm a laid back guy who will talk to anyone who wants to talk to me. I can manage questions really well," he said. "I got a taste of what New York is like and it's a great crowd. The media, the fans, they can be tough, but they're part of New York. But, I think I'm going to love it here."

Whether he starts in Brooklyn, St. Lucie, or anywhere else, Kunz is a determined player who seeks only the best from himself. A highly successful collegiate career has opened him up to the demands and scenarios that await in professional life. Kunz wants observers to know that he is unlike many top overall picks who may expect their future, rather than work for it.

"I just want to move up as fast as I can and open a few eyes while I do it. I'm hoping the coaches from the big league team will see me. I hope they don't think that just because I'm a number one pick, I have a ‘shoe-in' mentality. I want them to see me work hard and how I'm always pushing myself to improve my game," he closed.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nAt the time when the majority of draft picks signed and reported to their teams, top pick Eddie Kunz completed another magical season at Oregon State. For the second straight year, Kunz anchored the back of a bullpen on a College World Series championship team.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was amazing. It's one feeling to win one national championship, but to win back-to-back is on a whole different level. We had a great group of guys that never stopped working. We were real close, and we just got it done in the end. It was the goal at the start of the season and we did it,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nHe left school after his junior year, but at that high level, post-season experience cannot be undervalued. The pressures of the college baseball tournament has prepared him for his future role as a closer in the Mets' system.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think, definitely, the work I did for my team prepared me for this role at the next level,\" he said. \"Not only in conference, but all the post-season games, they were so intense that I can't figure I'll feel pressure like that again very soon.\"
\r\n
\r\nMany fans quivered with angst waiting for his signing to become official. They wondered what took so long and what happened behind the scenes. Kunz explained :
\r\n
\r\n\"It was definitely a process, but it was not too bad. We tinkered with a few things here and there, but it wasn't too much of a problem,\" he said. \"There were just little things I had questions about and they would go back, check things and work out the details. I wanted to make sure there were no problems and that I could go forward without anything hanging over.\"
\r\n
\r\nNow that his signing is in the past, Kunz reflected on what it means to be a first-round pick. He realized the magnitude of the distinction, and holds it to be personally significant.
\r\n
\r\n\"It means a whole lot. I didn't really expect myself to be drafted that high, but now that time has passed since the draft, it really is big for me. There were only 60-something guys drafted in the first rounds and to be included in that group is an honor,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\nWith this time away from the diamond, Kunz maintained conditioning by working out at his alma mater before heading east. Since he pitched as deep into a season as possible, he did take a brief time off. But, come ten days after the College World Series, he was back out there.
\r\n
\r\n\"I took some time at home in Portland, didn't even pick up a ball, but after that, I went back to Corvallis and got my work in. At first, it was just light work, getting some tossing in. Then, the following week, I got back to pitching in levels and got ready to report to the club. I knew I wasn't going to be completely ready, but at least half-way so that by the time I got to my specific team, I'd be 100%,\" he detailed.
\r\n
\r\nIn 31 games pitched this season at Oregon State, he threw 46 1/3 innings with a 3-1 record and a 2.91 ERA. Most notable of his statistics was his .194 opponents' batting average. His strong season, and that prior post-season experience, will allow his transition to professional ball to be a smooth one.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it will be pretty easy. There will be differences between the minors and college ball, like the bats for example,\" he said. \"But the program I just came from definitely helped in making the switch easy. I'll have new guys to play with and coaches to work with, but I think I'll squeeze in well.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe next step for Kunz will be his upcoming trip to St. Lucie where he will work back to game strength. After about ten days at the Mets' complex, he will be off to Brooklyn. Although, if he impresses with a very strong workout, a slight chance exists that he may stay right there in St. Lucie and join the Single-A Mets. However, with Brooklyn in first place in the NY-Penn League, the organization most likely will lean towards placing Kunz on team in contention for its league title.
\r\n
\r\n\"Coming off college, I threw really well down the stretch at the end of the season. I think I can keep that going wherever I end up, but Brooklyn sounds like an exciting place and they're winning their share of ballgames,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\n\"They've got a real good team and very strong pitching from what I've heard and seen in the stats,\" he said. \"It would be great to go from my team in Oregon State to another first-place team in Brooklyn. Either way to me, I'd come out, pitch the way I can and help continue the great season they've had going on.\"
\r\n
\r\nOn the mound, Kunz possesses a mature repertoire. He is known for his heavy, sinking fastball in the low-to-mid 90's, but he also throws a reliable changeup as well as a slider. It is the latter two pitches that will receive attention as he makes way into his career.
\r\n
\r\n\"I want to get as consistent as possible,\" said Kunz. \"My fastball is where I want it to be. My changeup has been there when I needed it, but I want it there every time. Mostly, I want to work on my secondary pitches and find out how they work best for me.\"
\r\n
\r\nRight from the start, one development to watch is how he holds up against the other draftees who now have a month of seasoning under their belt. Other top pitching selections, like Eric Niesen, Stephen Clyne (both 3rd round), Dan McDonald (8th round) and Will Morgan (12th round), all have at least ten games to their credit. If Brooklyn is Kunz's destination, how he is used out of the loaded Cyclones' bullpen will be an interesting storyline.
\r\n
\r\nHowever, he shrugged off the notion that his late start may put him behind the proverbial eight ball in comparison to his possible upcoming teammates.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm not really worried about it because I like to work my butt off. If they think I'm behind, I'll catch up. It's something that I pride on myself that I'll work hard or harder than any other guy out there. Either way, I want to get in, work hard and hopefully I can go out there and win some games,\" he said with confidence.
\r\n
\r\nAs a product of the West Coast, growing up in Portland and attending Oregon State, Kunz has never played ball on the East Coast. His pending addition to the Cyclones' roster will surely be a change of scenery to say the least. The number one draft pick, playing in the New York atmosphere from day one of his career, is sure to attract a great amount of attention from the local media. Yet, Kunz is quick to deflect the idea that the media will get to him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was at the game (on Tuesday), threw a bullpen and when I came in, there were probably 35 reporters there. I'm a laid back guy who will talk to anyone who wants to talk to me. I can manage questions really well,\" he said. \"I got a taste of what New York is like and it's a great crowd. The media, the fans, they can be tough, but they're part of New York. But, I think I'm going to love it here.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhether he starts in Brooklyn, St. Lucie, or anywhere else, Kunz is a determined player who seeks only the best from himself. A highly successful collegiate career has opened him up to the demands and scenarios that await in professional life. Kunz wants observers to know that he is unlike many top overall picks who may expect their future, rather than work for it.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just want to move up as fast as I can and open a few eyes while I do it. I'm hoping the coaches from the big league team will see me. I hope they don't think that just because I'm a number one pick, I have a ‘shoe-in' mentality. I want them to see me work hard and how I'm always pushing myself to improve my game,\" he closed.
\r\n
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