Zach Wheeler Scouting And Info From Around Web
Wheeler has two pitches that could surface as plus, in his fastball and curveball. The changeup I saw doesn’t look like it will be more than a slightly above-average pitch. He could use more seasoning with his changeup as well as his command, but he could be a back-of-the-rotation starter in the big leagues tomorrow. His upside, which he could still be 3-4 years from reaching, is as a very good No. 2 starter and maybe even an ace for stretches of time. Every young pitcher comes with a good amount of injury risk, but Wheeler’s mechanics make him an unlikely bet to avoid major arm injuries over the next five years. Hopefully he can stay healthy, mature into his frame, sharpen his command and get a chance to face big-league hitters. Wheeler is a treat to watch and one of the higher upside arms in the minors. – Project Prospect
Unfortunately, Wheeler doesn’t really look like a pitchability guy either despite his natural pitching intelligence. He’s improved his changeup, but it’s still not average yet, and his arm angle suggests it might never be. His command ranges from below average to terrible, and the fact that he’s had as much success in the California League as he has speaks more about the quality of hitters he’s facing than his actual ability. He has a lot of difficulty hitting his spots, especially down in the zone. Right now a lot of batters are still chasing, but that may change once he starts facing more disciplined hitters. The good news is that he doesn’t often elevate his pitches when he misses; he tends to either miss down or away. That will help him to continue to limit the home run, but if hitters do start to lay off, he’ll find himself intentionally elevating instead. – Amazin Avenue
Right now, Wheeler is a raw talent. He struggled with control in low-A in 2010, posting an atrocious 5.83 BB/9. However, that was accompanied by a magnificent 10.74 K/9, and the kid didn’t allow a home run all season (58.2 IP). He’s got the ability to induce groundballs (63% GB rate), which in addition to his strikeout rate, makes him extremely valuable. In terms of proximity to the majors, Wheeler’s got some work to do. He is quite promising though. - John Sickels
A flame-throwing righthander from Georgia, Zack Wheeler mixes his 96mph fastball with a curve ball that’s already a plus pitch. He’s adding a changeup, and if he can make it even a league-average offering he can be a middle-rotation starter anywhere. Even without one, his fastball-curve combination is good enough for a major league bullpen today. He’ll need some seasoning, of course, and scouts would like to see his pitcher-perfect body take on a starter’s workload. He’ll probably spend most of 2011 in high-A, with a AA promotion possible. – Scoutinng Book
With his size, broad shoulders and loose arm action, Wheeler has plenty of projection remaining. His cracked nail was a blessing in disguise because it forced him to take time out to work on smoothing out his mechanics. He got on a more direct line to the plate and cut down the effort in his delivery, allowing him to command the bottom of the strike zone much better. Wheeler threw an easy 94-97 mph fastball during instructional league with improved location. His changeup became functional toward the end of the season, and his breaking ball became tighter and more consistent. He can throw an overhand curveball but has had more success with a slurve. He did a lot of maturing on the mound in his first pro season and learned he can’t strike out the world. – Baseball America
By the way, you can follow Zach Wheeler @wheelerpro45 on Twitter.
About the Author: Rob Johnson
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