Could Zack Wheeler Debut During 5-Game Braves Series In June?

An article by posted on May 7, 2013

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Updated on May 7

Zack Wheeler turned in his second straight strong outing with Triple-A Las Vegas, limiting Sacramento to three hits and a walk in six scoreless innings Sunday. Sandy Alderson has suggested Wheeler needs to turn in a string of positive starts before promotion consideration is made.

That said, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York speculates that Wheeler could make his MLB debut when the team will need an extra starter during a June 17-20 series at Turner Field. Because of Saturday’s postponement, the addition of the make-up date on June 18 will now that a five-game series.

“That likely would come after the Super 2 deadline, meaning Wheeler would miss an extra year of arbitration eligibility,” writes Rubin. “It probably would be a sweet moment for him, too, since he grew up in Dallas, Ga., outside Atlanta. Of course, this is all speculation.”

Original Post May 6, 2013

Top Mets pitching prospect Zack Wheeler followed up a solid start last week with an even better one today as the Las Vegas 51s beat the Sacramento River Cats 6-2.

Wheeler tossed six scoreless innings and allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out four. What stood out was that he tossed 91 pitches (55 strikes, 36 balls) and left the game looking he had plenty left in the tank.

He picks up his second win of the season and while he had command issues through the first two innings (15 strikes, 11 balls, walk), he got into a groove and dominated the rest of the way.

That’s two good starts in a row for Wheeler who made an adjustment to his delivery before his last start and so far things have turned around since a rocky start to the season.

Thoughts From Satish R. 

Wow! This is exactly what I wanted to see from Zack. The minor leagues are a place where you work on the kinks in your game – including things like mechanics. If the adjustment Wheeler made to his rotation before last week’s start was the big difference between a great performance and a bad one, then superb catch by the staff. He probably had another inning in him if they wanted to push it, but I’m alright with Backman pulling him so the young Wheeler stays in high confidence mode.

I was a little worried with how he started this game and thought we were headed towards a shaky performance, but Wheeler turned it around quickly and stood his ground. He was the aggressor on the mound and looked like a pitcher who finally trusted his pitches – at least his dominant fastball. The Wheeler watch is definitely on now… As everyone has been saying all season long, if Zack Wheeler strings together a couple of good starts in a row, it will be really interesting to see what the Mets brass does with him.

I still want to see more from the young man, but I have been very impressed with these last two starts.

Thoughts From Mitch Petanick

I will probably be in the minority when saying I wasn’t blown away by Wheeler’s start. On paper, the start was fantastic — no runs allowed while giving up three hits and one walk. It’s exactly what you want to hear about your prized prospect. However, I saw some things in the game that caused me to raise an eyebrow.

Let me preface what I am about to say with letting you know I only watched the first four innings of the game today. With that being said, I felt that Wheeler was not really throwing his off speed pitches for strikes, especially his breaking balls. The batters seemed to figure out that he was not throwing them for strikes, so they didn’t chase them out of the zone very often, and were sitting on the fastball (this is probably why Wheeler only had four strikeouts instead his usual seven or eight). That usually spells trouble for a pitcher, unless you are throwing 97 mph. Wheeler’s fastball was good enough to get the hitters out today, but that won’t always be the case.

The 97 mph fastball will not be enough to get hitters out at the major league level alone. He will have to throw the off speed pitches for strikes consistently. I didn’t see that enough today, although it was definitely another step in the right direction for Wheeler.

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