Why the Mets shouldn't plan to have their top pitching prospect on next year's Opening Day roster

How the Mets should handle Mike Vasil and next year's roster.
Oct 7, 2022; Peoria, Arizona, USA; New York Mets pitcher Mike Vasil plays for the Peoria Javelinas
Oct 7, 2022; Peoria, Arizona, USA; New York Mets pitcher Mike Vasil plays for the Peoria Javelinas / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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New York Mets fans are eager to see what the next crop of minor league talent can accomplish. After weeks of watching a team disinterested or unable to compete for a playoff spot, it’s time to lick your finger like an old-lady teacher and turn the page if you haven’t already.

The Mets don’t have too many prospects who could seriously compete for an Opening Day roster spot next year, at least among those without major league experience. Ronny Mauricio is still technically a prospect, but with MLB games now under his belt he falls more into the class alongside the other Baby Mets already in the majors. This isn’t the case for Mike Vasil.

Now ranked as the best pitching prospect the club has, Vasil is finishing up his season in Triple-A. It was turbulent at first. He has since settled down only to get knocked around again. As exciting as it may be to have a young pitcher take the ball every fifth day, the Mets should have a different plan for him.

The NY Mets should allow Mike Vasil to compete for a major league job but not plan for a major league appearance right away

Playing it safe doesn’t work in a Fast & Furious movie. When navigating a major league baseball roster, conservatism has its benefits.

We all kicked and screamed for the Mets to call up their prospects last year and again this season. It’s a bit different when the season has already begun and we’ve seen guys mash their way onto the leaderboard in their league. The situation with the Opening Day roster and a starting pitching staff differs from a few bats as well.

Second to only the bullpen, the starting rotation is the most questionable department on the roster. Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana don’t come close to cutting it. The Mets will have three available spots they need to improve with room for only one to be more of an ongoing competition.

Vasil has already made 14 starts in Double-A this year and is now 3-4 with a 5.71 ERA. These aren’t even close to the kinds of results you’d want to see from a pitcher before a promotion. He exited his start on September 1 after only 1.2 innings of work and 5 earned runs across the board then suffered a similar yet not as painful fate on September 8 when he allowed 6 earned runs in 5 innings of work.

Minor league numbers aren’t quite as important as they are in the majors simply because the game is played differently. Those games are far more exhibition and a chance to try out some things. Pitchers will, at times, be asked to work through a difficult situation where they might not be in the major league level. It’s not as much about winning or losing as much as it is to showcase what you can accomplish.

Rather than get the clock started on Vasil from the jump next year, easing him into a major league role seems necessary. This means tackling the offseason with the approach of not having Vasil available. Call him up when he becomes one of your five best options to start a game. Until then, hold him back. The Mets will have room for him whether because of injury or ineffectiveness. You can plan your rotation with a spot for Vasil to win, just don’t put plans in the blueprints for him to have one of those places before the year even begins.

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