The New York Mets selected hard throwing right-handed pitcher Tyler Bashlor in the 11th round of the 2013 draft from South Georgia College in Douglas, Georgia.
Bashlor was given a $550,000 thousand signing bonus ($450K over slot and 4th highest in draft) to keep him away from his college commitment. He was then sent to the Kingsports Mets in the Appalachian League to make his professional debut.
The 23-year old struggled in his debut season with a 5.74 ERA and 1.66 WHIP in 15.2 innings over 13 games. The good news is he held opponents to a .226 average and had 18 strikeouts during that span.
Bashlor would have Tommy John surgery in May of 2014 and would not throw another pitch in a professional game until April 8, 2016. On that day, he would throw two scoreless innings with five strikeouts for the Columbia Fireflies of the South Atlantic League. Bashlor battled back into action after having his return delayed multiple times by discomfort after TJS.
I would say it was quite a return for a guy that had yet to pitch in full season ball and hadn’t pitched competitively in over two years. In 50.1 innings for Columbia he pitched to a 2.50, 1.24 WHIP, held opponents to a .193 average and struck out 68 batters. His 12.19 K/9 was third among SAL pitchers that threw at least 50 innings.
He was throwing well enough to get a late season promotion to the St. Lucie Mets during their playoff push. He would pitch 5.1 innings allowing three runs on four hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Bashlor also threw a scoreless inning with three strikeouts in his lone playoff appearance for St. Lucie.
The first thing you notice when you watch Bashlor is pitch is his velocity. His fastball sits in the 94-96 MPH and actually tops out at 99. He also mixes in an effective curveball and a changeup to keep hitters off balance.
The Mets could be aggressive with the flame-thrower assigning him to the Double-A Binghamton Mets to begin the 2017 season.
MMO – First off, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and congrats on a great season. You missed two full seasons of baseball, what were you going through physically and what was it like to finally get back on the mound this year?
Tyler – Thanks man. It was a tough two years for sure. Everything was going smooth until I started having scar tissue problems which set me back awhile. It was very frustrating and I didn’t think I was ever gonna be pain free again but it finally worked its way out and everything is back to normal again. Man last year was awesome. I was excited to get back on the field and be a baseball player again. Columbia was a great place and it was pretty cool to be able to play my first season back in such a nice stadium.
MMO – Were you surprised at all that your velocity came back in full force and are radar readings something you pay attention to at all?
Tyler – No not at all, I workout hard in the gym and have worked hard to be where I am now. So I wasn’t surprised and I still think I have a couple more mph left in me. And yea I like to keep up with the radar. I guess u can call me a velo guy haha.
MMO – What was the highest you’ve ever been recorded at? And how do you feed off being a high velo guy?
Tyler – That I know of 99 MPH. There is nothing better than blowing a fastball by a hitter. Especially when he knows its coming. I try to go after hitters as quick as I can and a lot of the times I can get it done with my fastball. So having a real heavy fastball is always a plus.
MMO – What was the biggest difference going from the South Atlantic League to Florida State League?
Tyler – I didn’t really see too much of a difference, but I didn’t get to throw much in the FSL either. My first outing there wasn’t too good but after that I settled in and pitched pretty well.
MMO – What was the key for your success this year after such a long layoff?
Tyler – Just to keep climbing up the ladder as quick as I can. I’m two years behind and I just wanted to do the best I could and keep progressing through the system.
MMO – Does pitching in the 9th inning during a save situation have a different feel than other appearances to you?
Tyler – Oh yeah, for sure. It’s definitely an adrenaline rush. It can go bad just as fast as it can go good. Definitely a thrill.
MMO – Who’s the toughest hitter you faced last season?
Tyler – Nobody really wowed me, but infielder Daniel Arribas from the West Virginia Power was pretty tough I guess.
MMO – Who has played a vital role in your baseball career getting to this point?
Tyler – I’d have to say my dad. If it wasn’t for my parents taking me all over to play I’d probably be working a 9-5 type job right now. But definitely my dad, he stays on me pretty good about constantly working out and getting better.
MMO – Thanks man for taking time to answer my questions and good luck in 2017.
Tyler – Thanks man, anytime.
Bashlor was recently ranked #42 in our Top 100 Mets Prospects countdown here at MMN.