MODESTO, California —— Above, watch this May, 2016 at-bat between left-handed pitcher Jerry Vasto (pitching for the Modesto Nuts) and catcher Tyler Marlette (hitting for the Bakersfield Blaze). Vasto, a Colorado Rockies prospect, eventually gets Marlette to ground out to shortstop to finish the at-bat, which took place in the ninth inning of a California League game between the two clubs at Modesto’s John Thurman Field.
Vasto’s typical habits center around commanding his fastball early in counts against hitters, at which point he can jump into a decent slider to put people away late. You can see things get flipped a bit here with the Seattle Mariners‘ prospect Marlette, because Vasto is unable to command the fastball early in the count, and goes down 2-1. In fact, Marlette bails him out a bit by jumping on a high pitch and pounding it into the ground to end the at-bat (and the game).
Context matters here, too; Marlette swings through a fastball early in the count, which was something he did quite a bit early in the 2016 season. After full-scale adjustments to his swing mechanics in June, his season—and really, his career—took off, and he was a completely different player in the second half of last summer. In other words, Vasto found him here at the right time, at least from the pitcher’s perspective. Credit to Vasto, though, who’s aggressive enough to get out good hitters and has pure stuff that’ll play up if he stays in that mode of controlled aggression on the mound.