Justin Lasko.

Justin Lasko. Credit: New York Mets

You won’t find Justin Lasko on the Mets' top prospect list and you won’t recognize his name from being selected near the top of a draft.

But you will find him on the mound every fifth day, and more often than not this year, he’s giving people around baseball reason to learn his name.

Lasko, a 24-year-old righthanded pitcher in the Mets’ organization, has dominated all three levels of minor-league baseball he’s played in this season. Between low Class-A, high Class-A and Double-A, Lasko has 2.39 ERA through 16 outings, including 14 starts.

In the 2019 MLB draft, he was selected in the 30th round, the 898th overall pick out of the University of Massachusetts. But the 6-4 pitcher doesn’t allow the round he was drafted to deter him.

"When it comes down to it, no matter if you are taken in the first or 40th [round], you have the same exact chance as anybody else theoretically," Lasko said. "It’s just if you put the numbers up, they are going to have a hard time saying no to you, so I think the mentality pretty much stays the same no matter what round or pick you were."

And the results back that up. Lasko has a 0.95 WHIP and 92 strikeouts with 19 walks in 94 innings in 2021. He had a stretch of 18.2 shutout innings over three starts with high Class-A Brooklyn shortly before his promotion to Double-A Binghamton. In his first start with the Rumble Ponies, Lasko tossed seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

"It’s just another challenge and something that gets presented in front of you that a lot of people don’t get to experience," he said. "So it’s super exciting to be given this opportunity to see how your stuff plays at the next level."

But Lasko admits he does play with a little extra edge knowing he wasn’t one of these heralded prospects entering the draft.

"Obviously you have to carry a little bit of a chip on your shoulder, which I do," he said, "but understanding that I have the same shot as anyone else in any clubhouse is kind of the main mindset for me."

Lasko said he adjusted his mechanics and is trusting advanced scouting reports entering starts, which has led to his success. But even with the numbers and promotions this year, Lasko doesn’t want to get ahead of himself. He feels far from a finished product.

"Honestly, it still doesn’t feel that way, funny enough," he said. "It’s just you get through every outing and it’s on to the next one. I haven’t given myself a whole lot of time to reflect — probably won’t until the season’s over — but obviously, something seems to be working. I get to keep moving, so that’s awesome, and things have been going pretty well."


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