2012 may not be over yet, but everyone is already looking ahead to 2013 and beyond, for a glimmer of hope. One of those glimmers is starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. Deemed a savior by Mets fans, the Mets organization doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to throw him into the New York limelight. Well it seems time is running out.
The Mets will have no choice but to have Wheeler in the opening day starting rotation. The Mets fans are tired of waiting. Wheeler is ready. Starting him in Triple A next season is doing him a disservice, the team a disservice, and the fans a disservice. The Mets made a mistake not making him a September call up, although it’s understandable that he had already reached his innings max, and they didn’t want to overwork him.
Wheeler has said he thinks it is a long shot for him to make the starting rotation in 2013. I’m not sure if he is just being modest, or that is the message he is getting from the Mets organization.
If it’s the message the Mets are sending this kid, then I am scratching my head. Wheeler has the makeup to be the ace of the staff – he works with a 90-95mph fastball which has wicked movement (in on right-handed hitters, away to left-handed hitters), he has an elite curveball, and a changeup which is considered below average right now, but could develop over time.
If the Mets are opting to keep him in Triple A for him to develop his changeup, they will be making a huge mistake. Also, and most importantly, Wheeler is not afraid to pitch inside. In fact, he has exhibited better command when pitching inside – I’m starting to love this kid already (scouting report information from www.projectprospect.com).
The 2013 rotation would be pretty formidable with Wheeler in the mix. Here is how I project the starting rotation on opening day next season:
- RA Dickey
- Matt Harvey
- Johan Santana
- Jon Niese
- Zack Wheeler
Dillon Gee will be edged out by Zack Wheeler in spring training, but it will only be a matter of time before he has to fill in for Santana, who doesn’t seem to be able to stay healthy anymore.
The Mets would also be wise to have Gee come out of the bullpen initially, due to the severity of his injury in 2012. They will bring him along slowly and it will leave the door wide open for Wheeler to rise to the occasion. Once he gets his foot in that door, I don’t think he’s ever going to look back.
The starting pitching doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a problem in 2013. The problems still lie in the bullpen and the outfield. Zack Wheeler being in the starting rotation won’t solve all the Mets woes, but it’s a start. Dickey was dynamite in 2012; Santana gave us our first no-hitter; Harvey gave us hope; Wheeler will be to the Mets, what Luke Skywalker was for the Jedi – a new beginning.
Thoughts from Joe D.
When Jim Callis of Baseball America floated that idea last week, I thought he was just trying to get a rise out of Mets fans. But the more I consider the current topography we find ourselves in, the more I’m starting to believe that the fifth spot in the rotation is Wheeler’s to lose and not Wheeler’s to gain.
There will be no sexy names coming to Flushing this offseason. There’s a good chance that either David Wright or R.A. Dickey or even both won’t be back. The Mets have no trade chips to speak of aside from those two. The fans have already had their say with what they think of this team and it’s direction after a third straight decline in attendance and performance. All arrows are pointing down.
Can the Mets really host the 2013 All Star Game with a No-Star roster?
Wheeler may not be ready, but he would inject some excitement to what already looks like another dull and unexciting team in the works for the 2013 season.
One day Alderson says there will be wholesale changes, and then yesterday he admits it will be complicated to achieve that. What gives?
Yes, Wheeler will be in the 2013 starting rotation, if only to create some buzz for a team that is running out of breath, interest, and cash-paying fans.