Height/Weight: 6’5”, 265 lbs
Acquired: 1S, ’07 (Oregon State)
Born: 4/8/86 (Portland, OR)
Why Ranked Here: Kunz has a plus MLB pitch, a nasty two seamer in the low-mid 90s that generates both lots of swings and misses and groundballs. His short, hard flat slider is an effective weapon against righties. Moreover, he’s done with Double-A and close to ready to contribute to the Major League team. Ranking Kunz here signals an inflection point of sorts in the rankings where MLB readiness starts to outweigh potential. Kunz struggled with lefties in AA and in tiny samples in the majors and the AFL. He claims that he’s always had a good feel for a changeup, but the Mets wanted him to work on his slider to lefties in 2008. There is little doubt he needs another weapon against LHH who see the ball very early from his low ¾ arm slot. Scouts are concerned that the violence in Kunz’s delivery might mean that he will never have the type of command teams want out of their closer.
2008: After April 1, Kunz allowed runs in just five of his final 35 appearances in AA. The Mets promoted Kunz straight from AA to the big leagues in early August, where the command problems that plagued Kunz early in the AA season, came back hurt him. He became almost entirely fastball dependent, especially later in big league counts, and MLB hitters made him pay for his predictability. Kunz’s AFL line looks lousy thanks to an eight-run outburst he allowed in .1 of an inning on October 17th. Even so, the 10 walks in 14 innings is troubling.
Dr. Pangloss Says: Kunz can become a real asset in the eighth inning for the Mets with that bigtime sinker.
On the Flipside: Kunz has problems with lefties and spotting his offerings, which might limit him to situational right-hander status.
Projected 2009 Start: AAA Buffalo where he will be engaged in a lengthy audition to win another shot at the big leagues.