Mets' No. 11 prospect making waves at Double-A (2024)

April 30th, 2023

Mets' No. 11 prospect making waves at Double-A (1)

Anthony DiComo

@AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- Since the last of the Mets’ blue-chip starting pitching prospects debuted about eight years ago, the farm system has become skewed toward position players, with a relative void of high-profile pitchers in the pipeline. These days, most of the Mets’ top arms are still at Single-A St. Lucie.

But perhaps there is hope in the form of Mike Vasil, the organization’s eighth-round Draft pick in 2021 and its No. 11 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Through four starts at Double-A Binghamton, Vasil boasts a sterling 27-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That’s significant for a pitcher who struggled with his control after a promotion to High-A Brooklyn last summer, walking 4.1 batters per nine innings at that level.

“I think there’s everything to like about him,” Mets farm director Kevin Howard said. “He’s up there with [2022 second-rounder Blade] Tidwell when you talk about some of the best starters in our org. He’s got the velo. He’s got the swing-and-miss offspeed pitches. He’s big. His pitch metrics are amongst the best in the org.”

Seven-K Saturday for @mvasil17. 💪 pic.twitter.com/vUIlcZWbiI

— Mets Player Development (@MetsPlayerDev) April 30, 2023

A Massachusetts native who pitched in the Cape Cod League and at the University of Virginia, Vasil dealt with injuries last year before re-establishing himself as a healthy, productive pitcher in the Arizona Fall League. Although the 23-year-old wasn’t invited to big league camp, the Mets called him up for a spot start in Grapefruit League play on March 23, where he impressed Buck Showalter with his performance against a representative Braves lineup.

That day, Vasil struck out Matt Olson on a changeup -- a pitch he altered his grip on about a year and a half ago in hopes of having it become more of a weapon against left-handed hitters. If Vasil can continue to showcase his improved command of that pitch and others, he profiles as the prospect most likely to make a near-term impact on the Mets’ rotation.

“Definitely your mind wanders at times, and those thoughts cross your mind,” Vasil said in Spring Training. “But I think for me, right now, I’m just really staying present and thinking about, ‘OK, now what am I going to do tomorrow to get better?’”

.@mvasil17 struck out five of the six batters he faced in two perfect innings today. 👀 pic.twitter.com/qhlApYDxkr

— Mets Player Development (@MetsPlayerDev) April 16, 2023

Triple-A Syracuse
Over the past year, two factors have hampered Mark Vientos’ quest to stick at the big league level: his defense and strikeout rate. Although Vientos has improved in both areas, his swing decisions over the past with weeks have been particularly notable.

In his first 12 games this year with Syracuse, Vientos struck out in 30.8% of his plate appearances. In the 12 games since, he has struck out at a 11.8% clip. If Vientos can continue controlling the strike zone in that manner, his promotion back to the Majors will be a matter of if, not when.

It’s worth mentioning that Tommy Pham entered Sunday in an 0-for-16 slump that has sunk his season average to .196. If that trend continues, Vientos could eventually infringe upon Pham’s territory as a power-hitting right-handed DH.

Double-A Binghamton
If you attended Mets Spring Training, you’re probably aware of Nathan Lavender, a left-hander who was not in big league camp but still managed to find his way into five Grapefruit League games. Often filling in when the Mets had a pitching crunch, Lavender fired 4 1/3 hitless innings and even earned a save.

Lavender has since continued that success with a 1.74 ERA and 19 strikeouts over his first 10 1/3 innings with Binghamton, including seven punchouts Saturday over three relief innings. A 2021 14th-round pick who does not rank among the organization’s Top 30 prospects, Lavender features reverse platoon splits thanks to a well-regarded changeup that’s his signature pitch.

“His ceiling is he could be a really good left-handed reliever in the big leagues,” Howard said. “He’s fearless. … He’s the right guy to throw into a pressure situation, because he’s just got a really slow heartbeat and a really nice confidence in himself.”

High-A Brooklyn
Multiple injuries, including an appendix issue, prevented No. 21 prospect Stanley Consuegra from debuting in full-season ball until last summer, nearly half a decade after the Mets signed him as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. He’s beginning to make up for lost time, however, hitting four home runs with a .931 OPS over his first 16 games this year with Brooklyn. Notably, Consuegra has cut his strikeout rate and improved his walk rate since last season.

“He’s another one that he just needed to play,” Howard said. “I don’t think anybody is surprised. … He’s kind of doing what we expected him to do.”

Game-tying three-run blast for Stanley Consuegra! ☄️ pic.twitter.com/FLlaBATt2Q

— Mets Player Development (@MetsPlayerDev) April 25, 2023

Single-A St. Lucie
So far this season, 2022 first-rounder and Mets' No. 5 prospect Jett Williams -- who recently entered MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list -- has played about two-thirds of his games at shortstop and the rest in center field. The Mets view Williams more as a shortstop at this point in his development, but they anticipate him playing both positions to maintain his versatility as a he climbs the Minor League ladder.

Mets' No. 11 prospect making waves at Double-A (2024)
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