Mike Vasil’s goalless AFL debut

MESA, Arizona – The first shot is indeed the best pitch you can throw. Just ask, put right handed mike vasil.

In his first two starts in the Arizona Fall League, the Mets No. 11 the prospect struggled to get past the batters, a big reason he allowed five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He entered Friday’s start against the Mesa Solar Sox hoping to turn that tide and was successful, pitching four shutout innings as his Peoria Javelinas shutout Mesa, 4-0.

“The most important thing today after the first two outings is to really trust myself, trust my stuff,” Vasil said. “Maybe make a little mental adjustment here and there, maybe a little mechanical adjustment. But that’s what really matters, not being scared of the batters, going 0-1 and that’s what I really did today that I felt I did well.

Vasil faced 17 batters on Friday and hit 13 of them on the first pitch. As a result, he retired the first seven batters he faced and finished with three hits and two walks allowed, while he struck out five. The biggest difference might have been having that mindset from the start. In his first two outings this fall, Vasil was particularly inconsistent on his first run of work and his intention was not to take so long to settle into a rhythm.

“The first two outings, I would say the first run is when things started to get a little weird, the energy went away, and then I calmed down,” Vasil said. “Today what I was really focused on was getting ahead, getting 0-1, trusting my stuff. I think when you do that you always see a pattern in baseball most of the time it works for you.

An eighth-round pick of the University of Virginia Mets in 2021, Vasil pitched on two levels of A-ball in his first full season. And while his business has improved – he was consistently hitting 95-96mph on Friday – he hasn’t really faced that level of competition yet. It’s a challenge he loves, but it can also make self-confidence and going right after batters a little more difficult.

“It’s something I’m still getting used to,” Vasil said. “You know and you hear about the best hitters… so I come here and it’s the best of the best hitters. You really have to understand that ultimately this is how you end up pitching. You look at the best pitchers out there, you look at the Scherzers in the world, you look at the Gerrit Coles, they’re ahead in the count and they’ve got some elite stuff, but there comes a time when you have to trust the yours. ”

He really trusted that mid-90s fastball on Friday. The more he can do this, the more he can then use his three secondary heights to complete it.

“With the heater on, the calmer I am, the better the spin, the better the movements and the ride,” Vasil said. “With the split-change, slider, and curve, it’s about being controlled, compact, and being able to get down the mound and let my arm catch up. When I do that mechanically, all my stuff takes a tick- tock.

Peoria provided all the offense Vasil and the three relievers who zeroed behind him (Alek Jacob of the Padres, Mason Hickman and Cade Smith of the Guardians) would need in the top of the first. Padres outfielder Tirso Ornelas lined up a right double that scored teammate Jackson Merrill, who had singled out. Mariners infielder Jose Caballero doubled in a run in the third and a pair of sacrificed flies in the sixth closed the scoring.

Vasil only really got into trouble in the fourth. Yankees phenom Jasson Domínguez started the inning with a brace and the bases were loaded after A’s outfielder Lawrence Butler and Marlins outfielder Victor Mesa Jr. tied on walks. It looked like Mesa would be on the board when Yankees first baseman TJ Rumfield sent a line drive to the center fielder. But the Mets center back Brandon McIlwain made a terrific jump, took a dive and got up to shoot home to prevent Domínguez from scoring and scoring.

“I pointed the finger at B-Mac,” said a grateful Vasil. “He’s a great guy, a great athlete. He made this game, it was huge. We like to see it. When your defense helps you, it’s always a good day.

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