Kevin Kernan of the New York Post spoke to a Mets official during last night’s 7-2 loss to the Dodgers and the subject of Mets prospect Zack Wheeler came up after an injured Jon Niese came out of the game and potential options were discussed.
“If Zack Wheeler wants to be here, start throwing strikes,” a Mets official told The Post. “I don’t want to hear about anything else. Throw strikes.’’
This is still a production oriented game, added Kernan, and Wheeler simply does not deserve to be promoted at this point. “Yes, he has a golden right arm, but it’s time to transform that talent into forcing the Mets’ hand.”
Wheeler, who is still winless, has a 4.91 ERA in four starts for Triple-A Las Vegas and has allowed 12 walks and 20 hits in 18.1 innings pitched.
As I’ve been saying all season long, Wheeler needs to command his pitches like fellow prospects Collin McHugh and Rafael Montero have. Yesterday morning, I argued that both of them were more MLB-ready than Wheeler.
No need to tell you how I was pleasantly surprised to learn that both Howie Rose and Gary Cohen mentioned Montero as a possible replacement if Niese were to land on DL during last night’s game. “It’s hard to ignore what Montero is doing in Binghamton,” Howie said. At least three people on Twitter must have said, “Damn, that Joe D.” You know that GKR and Howie didn’t read that anywhere else, but MMO.
As I predicted back in February, you will see Montero make his MLB debut in 2013. That seemed like a stretch before Spring Training and having never pitched above A-Ball, but you should’ve heard Paul DePodesta rave about him. Now, it’s not a matter of if, but “when” Montero will make his debut and like I argued on Twitter, I’m betting we’ll see him before Wheeler.
Wheeler, who turns 23 next month, needs to grab the bull by the horns. Blaming the hitter-friendly PCL is not a good enough excuse, especially when 36 other pitchers in the same league have a better ERA than you. That said, I agree with what MMO Minor League analyst Mitch had to say on the matter and I’ll leave you with this his quote as a parting thought:
Had Wheeler shown this dominance at any level, then we would be having the same discussion about him. However, Wheeler is a “thrower” at this point, using his overpowering stuff to get hitters out, but he hasn’t mastered the art of pitching yet. When he does master it, watch out.
I salivate at the thought of a rotation of Harvey, Niese, Montero, Wheeler and possibly Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard. Then you have Jake deGrom who I think we’ll see on the Mets at some point this season too.
However I would not be shocked if at least one or two of those last few names are swapped for a stud outfield prospect.