Zack Wheeler is a name we have all heard a lot lately. Probably too much, actually. But it’s a name I expect Mets fans will hear plenty more of over the coming years.
Wheeler, the Mets’ top pitching prospect, is currently at Triple-A Las Vegas as he continues to work on control issues before he gets that anticipated call to join the Mets.
Although most knew he was headed for the minors to start the season until his arbitration date passed (April 21, I believe), now many people expect it to be much longer because of the number of pitches he has thrown in games and the amount of walks he has issued.
I don’t care. It’s time for Zack Wheeler to join the Mets.
Why? It’s simple.
The back of the Mets’ rotation is not pretty. Yes, Shaun Marcum is set to make his Mets debut on Saturday, but who knows how that’s going to go? I expect him to be a strong mid-rotation starter, but there are no guarantees, especially with how many injuries he has had over the last two months.
Jeremy Hefner seems like a great teammate, but I don’t think he should be starting once every fifth day.
As for Dillon Gee, I’m still willing to give him some time. He continues to work back from a pretty serious injury that ended his season last year, and I expect him to put things together and be a solid No. 5 starter.
So, why Wheeler? Why now?
Well, as we all know, Matt Harvey has been ace-like through his first four starts, and I expect that trend to continue when he makes his fifth start tonight. But his Triple-A numbers weren’t all that off from what Wheeler has posted.
Let’s take a look …
In 2012, Harvey went 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA. In 110 innings, he issued 48 walks and tallied 112 strikeouts. His WHIP was 1.318.
In 10 Triple-A starts, Wheeler is 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA. In 51.1 innings, he issued 28 walks and tallied 52 strikeouts. His whip is 1.383.
So, in exactly half of the Triple-A starts as Harvey, Wheeler has very similar numbers (except for the win-loss record). It’s also very different pitching in Las Vegas than it is in Buffalo.
Yes, Wheeler probably has issued more walks than the Mets front office would like to see, but he was also battling a pretty bad blister on his pitching hand.
Harvey and Wheeler — statistically — are very similar.
Harvey is a gamer. He’s gritty, and he wants to win. You can see it on his face when he’s on the mound. I think Wheeler is the same way.
The other day, Wheeler posted the following on Twitter:
“Snowed out two days in a row here in Colorado. Heading back to Vegas tomorrow. About to turn this funk around and show out.”
If Wheeler got called up, I think he would get it figured out. After all, he is a top prospect for a reason.
And wouldn’t you rather see Wheeler get experience and figure things out at the big-league level than watch someone like Hefner or Aaron Laffey get rolled when they start?
I’m tired of hearing about how he’ll adjust if he gets lashed in an outing. He’s a competitor; he’ll be fine.
Wheeler is ready. And it’s time to unleash him.
Thoughts from Joe D.
This is what I love most about Metsmerized Online… The fact that we can express opposing viewpoints in the most civil and engaging ways. After a post by me suggesting the exact opposite view this morning. my friend Andrew espouses an opposing view and yet both posts have their merits. Now if only the commenting community can be as engaging and civil.