With their eighth selection in the 2021 draft, the Mets selected Mike Vasil, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Virginia.
A Wellesley, Massachusetts native, Mike Vasil attended Boston College High School, an all-male, Jesuit prep school in Boston. The right-hander had an impressive career there, posting a cumulative 1.06 ERA in 191 innings pitched with 217 strikeouts. He was named to various honorary teams, received various accolades from local media, and was considered a prep player of interest by reputable national scouting and evaluation organizations. Early in his senior season, some began considering the right-hander a possible first-round selection due to his upside and projection in the 2018 MLB Draft, but an arm issue put the kibosh on that. Weighing his options, Vasil decided to inform teams that he was intending on honoring his commitment to the University of Virginia and went unselected in the draft.
His freshman year at Virginia was not disastrous, but he certainly did not live up to expectations. Making 12 starts and appearing in 13 games for the Cavaliers, the right-hander posted a 5.93 ERA in 57.2 innings pitched, allowing 68 hits, walking 22, and striking out 40. He pitched in the Cape Cod League that summer and returned to Virginia a much-improved pitcher. Prior to the NCAA cancelling the 2020 season, Vasil posted a 2.45 ERA in 22.0 innings over four starts, allowing 21 hits, walking 10, and striking out 23. Serving as Virginia’s Saturday starter in 2021, he posted a 4.52 ERA in 81.2 innings over 16 starts and a relief appearance, allowing 101 hits, walking 18, and striking out 75.
As a high schooler, the right-hander had outstanding stuff for a prep pitcher and many saw him developing into a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. Injuries and stalled development have lowered his ceiling, but Vasil still exhibits some of the upside that made him so coveted in 2018.
The 6’5”, 225-pound right-hander throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot with a simple, clean delivery with a short arm action through the back. He uses his lower half well and is able to maintain his release point, as his mechanics feature very little extra movement. As such, his control is impeccable, though he is not always able to command his pitches.
His fastball ranges from 90-96 MPH, generally hitting its upper ranges early but settling into the low-90s after the first few innings. The pitch does not get too many swings-and-misses because of its lack of movement; at best, it some rising life when thrown high in the zone. He complements his fastball with a curveball, slider, and changeup, the latter of which is his best secondary offering. It generally serves as his out pitch, a low-80s offering with fade and tumble. His curveball and slider are generally get-me-over pitches. The curveball, which sits in the high-70s, features big 12-6 drop but often breaks early and is easy for batters to read out of his hand. The slider, which sits in the low-80s, has sweepy break with vertical and horizontal movement.
Vasil sometimes nibbles too much, trying to avoid the strike zone and batters making contact rather than going after them, but generally challenges hitters when he is feeling confident in his stuff.