Boston College ace, Justin Dunn is latest player drafted to hail from Long Island. He was ranked as one of the top pitchers in the nation when the New York Mets drafted him as the 19th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.
Dunn, 20, began his baseball journey in Freeport, Long Island as a six-year-old before playing competitively at the age of eight. He stated that he’s thrilled to see his big league aspirations coming to fruition.
“It’s awesome,” Dunn said. “It’s awesome to see that all the hard work, late nights, and training sessions are paying off.”
Dunn was drafted in the 2013 MLB First-Year Players Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 37th round. He chose to attend Boston College instead, stating that he wasn’t quite ready to play for a big league organization.
“Major League Baseball is a grind,” Dunn said. “At the time, physically and mentally I wasn’t ready for this.”
Dunn and BC Eagles have enjoyed a historical season for their program in 2016, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years and advancing to the Super Regionals for the first time in school history.
“This team is something special,” Dunn said. “We’re all just a family, we’re all pulling for each other, and we’re just as excited for the next person when we do well and win.”
He began this season as the team’s closer after earning that role in 2015. He was later promoted to the starting rotation and has blossomed into one of the top college pitchers in the country as he was named to Baseball America’s All-American Third Team. In seven starts, he has a 4-1 record with 66 strikeouts and a 1.49 ERA (as of June 3rd, 2016) which currently stands as a school record. Dunn credits Jim Foster, his pitching coach, for his growth as a pitcher.
“He came in during my sophomore year,” Dunn said. “I was still working on my pitching mechanics and from there, he taught me how to attack hitters on the mound. We watched video and followed scouting reports.”
Dunn rose to the occasion in BC’s opening NCAA Regional game against Tulane University. He earned the win, throwing seven innings and striking out a career-high 11 batters while allowing just two runs. He ranks this start as one of his best performances as during his college career.
“It’s definitely up there,” Dunn said. “I’m a guy who likes pitching in those big games and whenever I go out there, I’m just trying to keep my team’s offense in the game. I always strive to give my team a chance to win.”
Although he attended Gunnery High School in Connecticut, Dunn is proud to one day represent Long Island at the MLB level like his predecessors, Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman.
“I lot of people feel like Long Island can’t play baseball,” Dunn said. “For me to be able to keep proving people wrong means everything.”