Scouts on Mets pitching prospect Mike Vasil, who is putting it all together during 2023 season
Leading up to the 2018 MLB Draft, Mets pitching prospect Mike Vasil was considered a Top 25 prospect in the class coming out of Boston College Prep HS in Dorchester, Mass.
However, the right-hander decided to pass up on the opportunity and withdrew his name from the draft to see through his commitment to the University of Virginia. This usually happens a couple of times per draft, and the results for how things pan out have been hit or miss.
At Virginia, coaches made some changes to his mechanics and repertoire. Vasil went from a power four-seam fastball pitcher to a sinker/slider pitcher, which led to a decrease in velocity and some rather pedestrian stats. During his time there, he posted a 4.74 ERA and just 7.6 K/9.
This led to a dramatic fall not only in draft pedigree, but also financially.
Amateur scouting in baseball can often be years in the making before a player ends up with an organization. The Mets showed interest in Vasil when he was in high school and stayed on top of him leading into the 2021 MLB Draft.
The scouts remembered the type of prospect Vasil was in high school, and when he was sitting there in the eighth round, they thought it was a worthwhile dart throw. And this wasn’t just a random shot in the dark: They drafted him with a plan in place to turn him back into the type of power pitcher that he was in high school, along with some mechanical tweaks.
The 2022 season was an adjustment year for Vasil. In a way, he had to re-learn how to pitch because of how he had been utilized the past three years in college. This led to some inconsistency with his control and command, but he was up to 97 mph on his fastball while posting a 3.53 ERA across 18 appearances (17 starts) mostly between Low-A St. Lucie and High-A Brooklyn.
What stood out to the Mets was that he again showed the ability to miss bats, posting a 10.7 K/9 overall, including an 11.9 mark at the higher level in Brooklyn.
Vasil took that momentum over to the Arizona Fall League, an offseason league that a lot of teams send some of their very best prospects to play in.
In six appearances, he posted a 2.93 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 15.1 innings pitched, albeit with nine walks (5.3 walks-per-nine). He was named to the Rising Stars Game, which is the All-Star Game of the AFL.
In his second full season, the Mets' goal was to test Vasil at Double-A Binghamton and look to see him improve his control and command. The young right-hander has done that and more so far.
Vasil has a 2.19 ERA in seven starts spanning 37 innings with an incredible 46/6 K/BB ratio. That’s an 11.2 K/9 and a minuscule 1.5 BB/9 on the year.
The Mets believe he has really begun to put it all together this year. He is confident on the mound with swagger and the stuff is there.
Vasil has a nice four-pitch mix that will sit 94-96 mph and touch 97 and 98, occasionally. He has two above-average breaking balls with a 12-6 curve that has really gotten some Double-A hitters off balance, and a slider that he’s been generating a ton of swing-and-misses with. His fourth pitch is a change-up that he doesn’t throw enough, but has a chance to be an average offering.
Coming into the season, I had Vasil as the No. 3 pitching prospect in the system behind Blade Tidwell and his fellow Rumble Pony teammate Dominic Hamel. At this stage, it is looking like Vasil is the clear-cut second-best pitching prospect in the system and is not far behind Tidwell, who has had a tough start to his pro career.
I spoke to three different scouts who have seen Vasil this year, and they’ve all told me there is little doubt that he is a future big-league starter.
One of them said they believe he has the potential to be a No. 3-type of starter, and the other two said No. 4 or No. 5 type. The biggest point that stood out to me is they all said they would not be surprised if Vasil potentially made his big-league debut later this summer.
If he keeps this up, I imagine the Mets will give him a look with Triple-A Syracuse before long.
If the Mets got even a No. 4 starter in the eighth round of a draft for $181,200, that would be a huge scouting and player development win for an organization that badly needs to develop pitching.
If you look out in the free agency landscape at what pitchers like that are getting, you are looking at $15-$18 million annually. If Vasil can pitch like that, then I don’t think he will be having any regrets about turning down the potential money coming out of high school.