Name: Justin Dunn
Hometown: Freeport, New York
Previous Draft History: 2013, Los Angeles Dodgers (37th Round)
The scouting report: Dunn uses four pitches, including a four-seam fastball capable of touching into the mid-to-high 90s, along with a high-80s slider and slower breaking ball. In addition, Dunn has a changeup capable of rolling off the table on hitters.
Dunn on being selected in the draft once before: "It's awesome. It's everything. Growing up as a kid as a baseball player, you want to be considered one of the best baseball players in the country. It was more of an honor more than anything to be considered in that category. Going that late, I kind of knew that I was going to come (to Boston College), but it was more of to say, okay, I can play here and I'm good enough to potentially get to that level at some point. I would've considered it, but I always kind of knew I was coming to college."
Dunn on the changes from high school to college: "I got bigger and stronger for one. Then you have (pitching coach Jim Foster), who breaks down the mental side of the game. You learn how to analyze hitters mid at-bat, break hitters down, and make some mechanical changes - a little bit longer toe drag, things like that have really helped."
Dunn on himself on a pitcher: "I like to consider myself a power pitcher but I have three other pitches to complement it. I use a curveball as a get-me-over strike one breaking ball and a slider for a punch-out. The changeup is something that I've really developed this year, and against both righties and lefties it's gotten me out of some jams, gotten some weak contact. It's something that Coach Foster and I really like and something that we really want to use."
Dunn on the college game vs. high school: "In three years here, I really learned how to work. My freshman year, I was really just an athlete throwing a baseball. Academically you could see the same thing that I had the ability to get good grades but didn't put the work in to do it. Over the course of my time (at BC), I learned how to work and the importance of everything. It's really helped me grow and mature as a person."
Why "HOV?" "That's an interesting story. During my freshman year, I referred to Jay-Z as 'HOV' since I'm from New York and that's what we say. Everyone kind of looked at me like I had six heads. And then I come out and my walkout song is 'Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is HOV.' And it just kind of stuck. It started as an insult, but they didn't realize I would like it...so it stuck."
Dunn as a Yankee fan playing in Boston: "Never gonna change (laughs). I'm kind of at the point in my life, where I'm a baseball fan and I love watching good baseball...but the Yankees will always have a special place in my heart."
Mike Gambino on Justin Dunn's beginnings: "He wasn't a pitcher when he got here. He was an infielder who got up on the mound a few times and could just throw. He was a super athletic kid with a good arm. Over the past three years, he's turned into a pitcher. His freshman year he didn't have any command, he was just trying to throw every fastball as hard as he could. Then he started to understand the concept at the end of his freshman year down at URI, and (former assistant coach Scott Friedholm) did a good job of starting that whole process. I think it really opened his eyes the first time he touched 96 on the fastball, and it was hit over the scoreboard."
Gambino on Dunn's maturity: "There was a baseball maturity, and there was a personal maturity after that freshman year. He learned how to work, both on the field and in the classroom, and that's what that whole freshman year was. That set up him up to start diving into it his sophomore year."
Gambino on Dunn's adjustment to the scouts' attention: "He's been great, and he had a great role model last year in Chris Shaw. We had the 'traveling road show' that followed Chris Shaw last year, and it's something our boys are now used to. Chris did a great job showing Justin how to handle it, to focus and worry about this ballclub, and how that stuff will handle itself. Justin's following that lead, and he's teaching our young guys how to handle it. All he cares about is whatever helps the team win."
Gambino on comparing Dunn to his own experiences in the minor leagues and what comes next: "Honestly, he has everything he needs in his toolbox. It's just about refining it. He just has to continue to improve the changeup, continue to improve those two breaking balls, continue to improve his command, continue to improve his pitchability. I think he has to do a little better job holding runners, but he fields his position really well. He's now at the point where he's not going to try to increase velocity, but he's definitely going to get stronger, improve his body. But that's not a kid you're sending out saying that you have to give him something else to throw."