What happened to Mike Vasil this summer?
- Born: March 19, 2000
- B/T: Left/Right
- 6’5″, 244-lbs
- Drafted by the New York Mets in the 2021 MLB June Amateur Draft from University of Virginia
His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:
After being drafted in 2021, Vasil makes a token appearance in Rookie ball, blows the batters away, sleeps soundly that winter.
In 2022 he does very well at A-ball, though his strikeout rate dropped quite a bit. Still not walking guys. Then he moves to High-A, as college draftees should, and now his strikeout rate bounces back, but his walk rate jumps into double digits.
He showed enough promise that in 2023 he starts in Double-A as a 23-year-old and he does very well across the board.
So he goes to Triple-A and falls right outta the bed. He won’t sleep as soundly this winter…
Month-by-month tells the tale.
April: Dominance of AA
May: Strikeouts falls off, but otherwise OK
June: Walk rate jumps, WHIP follows.
August: In one game he really is having troubles with walks and WHIP.
Handedness K% and BB%
AA (vs RH): 23%K and 4%BB. (vs LH): 36%K and 4%BB.
AAA (vs RH): 27%K and 17%BB. (vs LH): 24%K and 10%BB.
In Double-A he was more effective against lefties, and merely average against righties.
In Triple-A the walk rate has soared, and his lefty dominance has disappeared.
- Rotowire: #141 on their Top 400
- Fantrax: #119 on their Top 400
- RotoProspects: #172 on Top 500
- Toolshed Fantasy ($): #307 on Top 500
- PARSlist ($): 68.1 (75th-best prospect pitcher)
- PLIVE+: 81 (165th-best prospect pitcher)
The scouts like him but as a back-end starter prospect, no ace by any means.
He seems to take some time adjusting to a new level. Will he adjust to AAA eventually?
Why was his strikeout rate falling even in Double-A?
Vasil has a mid-90s fastball, a mid-to-upper-80s slider, and the occasional changeup and curve. Vasil’s problem is he was showing good control, but not good command.
As I explain in my book, control means you throw strikes. Command means you put the ball where you want to put it, even if that means it’s just outside the strike zone on purpose to get the batter to chase. Control means you didn’t throw a ball. Command says you threw a ball, but meant to.
How does this apply to Vasil, a control-over-command pitcher? He throws lots of strikes, but they tend to be in the middle of the strike zone. You see his walk rate early in his pro career? You can get away with middle-of-the-zone in the low minors just by having good velocity. But in the upper minors (and especially in the majors), if you throw it in the heart of the zone, it’s going to get hit.
That’s what’s been happening to Mike Vasil. He’s getting hit, so he tries to move it out of the zone, so it becomes a ball that he didn’t want to throw (lacking that command), and the WHIP rises.
Vasil has the pitch types to remain a starter. But with four average pitches, he is likely to only be a #4 or #5 type starter. Think David Peterson type. And to achieve even that, he needs to hone his command or else his WHIP will get ugly.
Plus he’s in the Mets organization, and they have the money to buy starting pitchers, so again he is likely to be on the David Peterson track even if he improves his command.