Justin Dunn's Major League dreams are going home.
The New York Mets drafted the Boston College and Freeport, New York native with the 19th overall pick on Thursday night. The selection marks the second straight year an MLB franchise drafted an Eagle in the first round. It also marks the fourth ever first round selection in the history of the program.
Dunn projected before the season anywhere between the sixth and tenth round of the draft. Prior to the season, Baseball America named him one of the 100 best college prospects, and he ranked alongside teammate Mike King as one of the 200 best prospects overall, according to Perfect Game USA.
Over the course of the season, however, Dunn's stock skyrocketed. After starting the year as a closer, he transitioned to a starting role in April. Starting eight games since with nine appearances, going 3-1 with a 1.34 ERA and 49 strikeouts to just 13 walks over 47 innings.
In his final start of the regular season, he threw a complete game against Georgia Tech, pacing BC to a doubleheader sweep that clinched an ACC Tournament berth and, ultimately, a trip to the national tournament. In the Oxford Regional, Dunn threw seven innings in the opener against Tulane, striking out a career-high 11.
Overall on the season, Dunn is 4-1 in 17 appearances, throwing 60.1 innings while allowing only 12 runs. He has 66 strikeouts to just 16 walks and is holding opposing hitters to a .208 batting average.
A power right-hander that sits between 92-95 mph on his fastball, Dunn's displayed an ability for overpowering college hitters. He is capable of topping out in the high-90s with three legitimate offspeed pitches. His slider is in the high-80s and breaks hard and fast on hitters, while his curveball and changeup provide change-of-pace pitches to keep men guessing at the plate.
Over his time at BC, Dunn's developed into a phenom from a lanky converted infielder. A 37th-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school, he started pitching for BC during his freshman year but struggled while adjusting to the college game. Though he threw hard, he was racked around by opposing teams, resulting in a 7.30 ERA with a 1-1 record over seven appearances, four of which were starts. That year, Dunn game up 10 earned runs across 12.1 innings.
In contrast, Dunn allowed 10 earned runs this year thus far - across 60.1 innings.
He broke out in BC's eyes last year when he threw in 20 games, going 4-4 with a 4.94 ERA across 47.1 innings. Primarily used as a reliever across a number of innings, he lowered his opposing batting average from .370 to .264 and displayed an ability to strike out hitters, averaging nearly one per inning.
The righty will finish the season with Boston College before deciding on whether or not to sign with his professional team. The Eagles compete starting tomorrow in the Super Regionals against #3 Miami, and while the season will continue, there is likely going to be increased interest from the New York media and hometown crowd.
The mid-summer deadline to sign will loom for the pitcher, who is likely to not return to BC based on his draft position. The deadline to sign draft picks in MLB for 2016 is July 15th, meaning there's just a month for the team to negotiate and convince Dunn to join their minor league system.