Mets’ pitching prospect Mike Vasil is emerging for Binghampton

Mets prospect Mike Vasil

The struggles of the Mets’ starting rotation have been a key storyline for this season. But perhaps some help is lurking in an unexpected place. 

With Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer pitching through injuries, Jose Quintana out for a few more months, Carlos Carrasco working back from his own injury, Kodai Senga struggling to throw strikes, and both Tylor Megill and David Peterson proving inconsistent in their opportunities, the Mets are looking for some stability in their starting rotation. 

One option may be emerging in the minor leagues as 23-year-old Mike Vasil is announcing himself as perhaps the top pitching prospect in the Mets organization. 

While Blake Tidwell (Brooklyn Cyclones) currently ranks as the Mets’ top pitching prospect, and Vasil’s teammate on the Binghampton Rumble Ponies Dominic Hamel, is also currently ranked ahead of him, it’s been Vasil who has been the most dynamic of the group so far this season. 

An 8th-round pick in the 2021 draft out of the University of Virginia, Vasil has a four-pitch mix that is driven by a 93-95 mph fastball that he can command exceptionally well to compensate for the lack of high-end velocity. He also has two strong breaking pitches in a 12-6 curveball and a split-change that he has really improved this season. He rounds out his arsenal with a hard gyro slider (acts more like a cutter) that he uses to induce poor contact. 

So far this season, he has used that arsenal to pitch to a 2.70 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, and 36.3% strikeout rate in Double-A. In fact, he is second in the Eastern League with 41 strikeouts in 30 innings across six starts. He also has a 17.3% swinging strike rate, which ranks 4th in the Eastern League and shows just how dynamic his pitch mix is. 

Perhaps more importantly for Vasil, he has also drastically cut down on his walks, pitching to a 3.5% walk rate so far this year after posting a 10.7% rate last year. 

In the past, it would have been a given that Vasil would have some exposure to Triple-A before getting called up to the major leagues, but that is no longer how things work. With arm injuries to pitchers on the rise and services like Driveline advancing pitch shaping at college and the lower levels of the minors, teams are more willing to promote their young pitchers to get innings from them at the major league level in case injuries do strike. 

Just this year we’ve seen the Mariners promote Bryce Miller from Double-A, the Marins promote Eury Perez from Double-A, Guardians promote Tanner Bibee after just 15 Triple-A innings, and the Athletics promote Mason Miller (not related) after just 8.2 combined innings at Double-A and Triple-A. 

Given Vasil’s success this year and his advanced age, it would not be a surprise for the Mets to decide to promote him to the big league rotation this summer. While Verlander, Scherzer, Kodai Senga, and Carrasco all seem locked into spots if they remain healthy, Peterson and Megill have not cemented their status in the rotation and health will likely remain a concern for a rotation that features three pitchers over 36 years old. 

Perhaps Mike Vasil is the injection of youth this Mets staff needs. 

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Mets prospect Mike Vasil while pitching at Virginia
Mike Vasil delivers a pitch for UVA during a game in 2021