Most of you may have been listening when Terry Collins appeared on the YES Network with Mike Francesa last week, and laid down the gauntlet for top Mets pitching prospect Zack Wheeler when he was asked about his chances to make the Mets starting rotation out of camp.
“As we sit here today, no,” Collins told Francesa. “We have five starters. He needs to go down to Triple-A and pitch. If he wants to be on the staff, then he needs to go be the best pitcher in Triple-A. Wheeler needs to force us to call him up.”
That’s Terry Collins for you, a man who’s never one to mince words and always says exactly what’s on his mind.
However, the 22-year-old phenom didn’t seem to have a problem with what his manager said and in fact it seemed to fire him up.
“They’ve said they want me to start the season in Triple-A, but I’m going to make the decision hard on them,” Wheeler said.
“I’m going to go out there, compete and try my hardest. My whole offseason has been getting ready for this point, spring training,” Wheeler said. “I’m coming in and competing for a job at this point. In my mind, I think you’ve got to come in thinking like that.”
You’ve got to admire Wheeler’s tenacity and determination. Like Matt Harvey before him, Wheeler exudes confidence in himself and in his abilities. There’s no room for failure in their mindset, that’s not how either of them are built.
We’ve had other first round pitchers make their way to the Mets before in the last two decades – Mike Pelfrey being the latest example – but few of them, if any, came equipped with the swagger that these two possess.
It’s that swagger – that overflowing confidence – that has me excited about what the future holds for Wheeler and Harvey. The path moving forward for them is nicely paved and very bright, and that could only mean good things for the Mets in 2013 and beyond.