Scouting Mets Prospect #5: Eddie Kunz

The New York Mets used their top pick in the 2007 draft to select the big right-hander. The plan was to move Kunz quickly up the ladder and he fulfilled that by making his big league debut during last season's homestretch. Now everyone, including Kunz, is looking for those last refinements so he can hold a permanent spot in the Mets' bullpen.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Eddie Kunz
DOB: April 8, 1986
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 265
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Status: Supplemental 1st Round Pick (2007) – Oregon State

"By the end of my time in Binghamton I was really pitching well. I got a little bit of a hot streak, figuring out how to get people out and then I got the call to the big leagues for a couple days in August which was a total dream come true."

"It's only a dream to see how far you can go until you finally get there and experience it. Everything I dreamed about getting to the big league didn't compare to the actual experience. It was great to get up there, get the experience and just get used to the scene" recalled reliever Eddie Kunz when asked about his second year in the organization.

But living a dream could not have been possible without dedicated work that began way back in April in Binghamton, following a significant jump after just a few months of rookie ball with Brooklyn in 2007.

It was determined Kunz would begin the year in Double-A to close games for the B-Mets. There, he was immediately tested by vastly superior skilled hitters with the knowledge that a big league promotion was very possible come the latter stages of the season.

Known for his powerful, sinking mid-90s fastball, Kunz and Binghamton pitching coach Ricky Bones went right to work on his slider and changeup, the two pitches which ultimately led to his success in Binghamton where he went 1-4 with a 2.79 ERA and 27 saves in 44 appearances.

"The biggest thing for both my slider and changeup was to have confident with both of them. In Double-A, I just got back to being more consistent with both of them. I got a better feel for both pitches, started throwing them more for strikes and that was really the goal of Double-A," said Kunz.

He generates very sharp movement with his slider, but his changeup took precedent as he needed an off-speed option to mix in with his high-velocity fastball and slider. He began to use his changeup in Brooklyn yet did not gain any real measure of consistency until he forced himself to throw it more often.

"With my changeup, it wasn't a matter of getting more movement. It was a matter of just becoming more consistent with the pitch. In the beginning of the year, I would have probably thrown one in five changeups for strikes, but now I'm getting closer to that three or four range now that I'm getting the same, consistent arm action and location," Kunz explained.

The improved changeup helped him streak to a dominating finish in Double-A as he did not allow a run over his final ten appearances and walked just two batters before his promotion to New York on August 3. His brief stay with the big league club was a bit of a disappointment, but Kunz is not one to shrink at his performance.

"I got a taste of it this year, and keeping me there was the club's choice, but it really felt great getting up called up. It made me feel accomplished this year and there aren't many people who get this opportunity, but I've been there and I've done," he said.

"I can be there and everyone knows that I'm there to work my tail off. This spring, I want to show people that I'm there to stay and not to just fill in for a few weeks during the season and leave. I'm here to work and get ready for next year and do whatever I can.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2008

New York

0-0

0

2.2

5

1

1

13.50

2008

New Orleans

0-1

0

5.2

9

2

4

7.94

2008

Binghamton

1-4

27

48.1

39

25

43

2.79

2007

Brooklyn

0-1

5

12.0

8

8

9

6.75



Repertoire: Fastball, Slider, Changeup

Fastball: Kunz throws a hard, sinking fastball with plus movement. His velocity sits in the mid-90s and his fastball is his main weapon to shatter bats and generate a high number of ground balls. He has plus command of the pitch and still relies it on more than anything in his repertoire, but lessened its frequency as his other pitches became stronger.

Other Pitches: The rapid improvement of his mid-80s slider over the off-season led Kunz to use it as his top secondary pitch this season. It has plus movement with late break when thrown properly, but when he does not get the proper arm action, it will flatten out or miss out of the strike zone. He will throw it in any count but stressed throwing it as his strikeout pitch. He rounds out his repertoire with good changeup and has good arm speed, but still needs to build greater consistency with its location. He gets good drop on his changeup and will become a more reliable pitch the more he throws it

Pitching: Kunz goes right after hitters with his power fastball and then mixes in his slider and changeup in any count from his low three-quarters release point which aids in the movement of his pitches. Walks become problematic when he cannot properly locate his secondary pitches, but increased command will smooth out his rough edges. He pitches with determination and grit, and does back down to any counts or situations but will continue to struggle in the big leagues without more consistency in his secondary pitches.

Projection: The recent signing of Francisco Rodriguez certainly puts a block on Kunz's ability to assume the closer's role in the near future, but once he harnesses his command, Kunz will be in play to earn the setup role with the Mets. That said, he is still comparatively young and could pitch his way into the closer's role in future seasons if he can make his slider as dominant as his fastball. For now, Kunz will remain a late-inning option to be used based on the consistency of his performance.

ETA: N/A. Kunz made his big league debut last August, but that does not mean he is guaranteed a spot when camp breaks this spring. He will compete for a spot on the 25-man roster, but his performance in Spring Training will dictate whether he opens the year in New York or returns to Triple-A to await an eventual call back.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Eddie Kunz
\r\nDOB: April 8, 1986
\r\nHeight: 6'5\"
\r\nWeight: 265
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nStatus: Supplemental 1st Round Pick (2007) – Oregon State
\r\n
\r\n\"By the end of my time in Binghamton I was really pitching well. I got a little bit of a hot streak, figuring out how to get people out and then I got the call to the big leagues for a couple days in August which was a total dream come true.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It's only a dream to see how far you can go until you finally get there and experience it. Everything I dreamed about getting to the big league didn't compare to the actual experience. It was great to get up there, get the experience and just get used to the scene\" recalled reliever Eddie Kunz when asked about his second year in the organization.
\r\n
\r\nBut living a dream could not have been possible without dedicated work that began way back in April in Binghamton, following a significant jump after just a few months of rookie ball with Brooklyn in 2007.
\r\n
\r\nIt was determined Kunz would begin the year in Double-A to close games for the B-Mets. There, he was immediately tested by vastly superior skilled hitters with the knowledge that a big league promotion was very possible come the latter stages of the season.
\r\n
\r\nKnown for his powerful, sinking mid-90s fastball, Kunz and Binghamton pitching coach Ricky Bones went right to work on his slider and changeup, the two pitches which ultimately led to his success in Binghamton where he went 1-4 with a 2.79 ERA and 27 saves in 44 appearances.
\r\n
\r\n\"The biggest thing for both my slider and changeup was to have confident with both of them. In Double-A, I just got back to being more consistent with both of them. I got a better feel for both pitches, started throwing them more for strikes and that was really the goal of Double-A,\" said Kunz.
\r\n
\r\nHe generates very sharp movement with his slider, but his changeup took precedent as he needed an off-speed option to mix in with his high-velocity fastball and slider. He began to use his changeup in Brooklyn yet did not gain any real measure of consistency until he forced himself to throw it more often.
\r\n
\r\n\"With my changeup, it wasn't a matter of getting more movement. It was a matter of just becoming more consistent with the pitch. In the beginning of the year, I would have probably thrown one in five changeups for strikes, but now I'm getting closer to that three or four range now that I'm getting the same, consistent arm action and location,\" Kunz explained.
\r\n
\r\nThe improved changeup helped him streak to a dominating finish in Double-A as he did not allow a run over his final ten appearances and walked just two batters before his promotion to New York on August 3. His brief stay with the big league club was a bit of a disappointment, but Kunz is not one to shrink at his performance.
\r\n
\r\n\"I got a taste of it this year, and keeping me there was the club's choice, but it really felt great getting up called up. It made me feel accomplished this year and there aren't many people who get this opportunity, but I've been there and I've done,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\n\"I can be there and everyone knows that I'm there to work my tail off. This spring, I want to show people that I'm there to stay and not to just fill in for a few weeks during the season and leave. I'm here to work and get ready for next year and do whatever I can.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n Hits

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

K

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n New York

\r\n

\r\n 0-0

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 2.2

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 13.50

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n New Orleans

\r\n

\r\n 0-1

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 5.2

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 7.94

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Binghamton

\r\n

\r\n 1-4

\r\n

\r\n 27

\r\n

\r\n 48.1

\r\n

\r\n 39

\r\n

\r\n 25

\r\n

\r\n 43

\r\n

\r\n 2.79

\r\n

\r\n 2007

\r\n

\r\n Brooklyn

\r\n

\r\n 0-1

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 12.0

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n 6.75


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire: Fastball, Slider, Changeup
\r\n
\r\nFastball: Kunz throws a hard, sinking fastball with plus movement. His velocity sits in the mid-90s and his fastball is his main weapon to shatter bats and generate a high number of ground balls. He has plus command of the pitch and still relies it on more than anything in his repertoire, but lessened its frequency as his other pitches became stronger.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches: The rapid improvement of his mid-80s slider over the off-season led Kunz to use it as his top secondary pitch this season. It has plus movement with late break when thrown properly, but when he does not get the proper arm action, it will flatten out or miss out of the strike zone. He will throw it in any count but stressed throwing it as his strikeout pitch. He rounds out his repertoire with good changeup and has good arm speed, but still needs to build greater consistency with its location. He gets good drop on his changeup and will become a more reliable pitch the more he throws it
\r\n
\r\nPitching: Kunz goes right after hitters with his power fastball and then mixes in his slider and changeup in any count from his low three-quarters release point which aids in the movement of his pitches. Walks become problematic when he cannot properly locate his secondary pitches, but increased command will smooth out his rough edges. He pitches with determination and grit, and does back down to any counts or situations but will continue to struggle in the big leagues without more consistency in his secondary pitches.
\r\n
\r\nProjection: The recent signing of Francisco Rodriguez certainly puts a block on Kunz's ability to assume the closer's role in the near future, but once he harnesses his command, Kunz will be in play to earn the setup role with the Mets. That said, he is still comparatively young and could pitch his way into the closer's role in future seasons if he can make his slider as dominant as his fastball. For now, Kunz will remain a late-inning option to be used based on the consistency of his performance.
\r\n
\r\nETA: N/A. Kunz made his big league debut last August, but that does not mean he is guaranteed a spot when camp breaks this spring. He will compete for a spot on the 25-man roster, but his performance in Spring Training will dictate whether he opens the year in New York or returns to Triple-A to await an eventual call back.
\r\n
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