The closest New York Mets pitching prospect to reach the majors is Mike Vasil. Somewhat of a stunning lower draft pick turned true prospect, Vasil is going to see big league action at some point in 2024.
Exactly when will it happen? That's up to Vasil. First he needs to prove he's ready. How should the Mets begin to map out their plan for him? Let’s take a look at a blueprint plan for him.
Planning the big league debut for Mike Vasil
In no way should Vasil begin the season on the big league roster. The Mets have enough depth already where even if injuries happen they're pushing him a little too quickly. Vasil is, at his earliest, a promotion candidate in May. This benefits the ball club further by delaying his eventual free agency by adding the extra year of control.
But a May call up for Vasil means someone, likely more than one pitcher, has already gotten hurt. The Mets aren't going to move him onto the 40-man roster until they're ready to promote him to the majors.
Vasil’s Triple-A performance last year was shaky early on. It included a 4-4 record and 5.30 ERA in 16 starts. He was far more impressive in Double-A where in 10 starts he recorded a 1-2 record and 3.71 ERA. Despite the acceptable yet unimpressive ERA, Vasil excelled in other areas. A 0.84 WHIP, 1.4 walks per 9, and 10.1 strikeouts per 9 helped highlight his stay with Binghamton.
One adjustment Vasil will need to make is improving his performance with runners on. With the bases empty, hitters slashed .201/.272/.366 against him. With anyone on, they batted .266/.342/.438.
Just for a barometer of this, fellow Mets prospect Dominic Hamel saw hitters bat .218/.297/.353 versus him with the bases empty. With any runner on, they hit .246/.315/.395. Blade Tidwell, meanwhile, held batters to a .199/.319/.375 slash line with the bases empty. With runners on they hit only .226/.325/.366.
Vasil needs to show he can pitch effectively out of the stretch because when he does reach the majors we should expect the WHIP to climb and veteran hitters take advantage of him as a rookie. There should be no urgency to call up Vasil simply for the sake of seeing what he can do, but if things are going well the Mets can view him as a solution either in the rotation or even the bullpen for a year.
Get ready for a year of fans clamoring for his MLB promotion. It was already taking place more quietly in 2023. Those voices will grow louder and more justified in 2024. Give him half a season at least to show he is ready for the majors. By then, let him join the mix of Joey Lucchesi, Tylor Megill, Jose Butto, and the rest of the “sixth starter” candidates.