Wally Backman Says Zack Wheeler Is Two Weeks Away From Mets Debut
“Personally, I think if he has a couple of more starts like his last start he’ll be headed to the big leagues, and rightfully so,” Backman told Las Vegas’ ESPN radio affiliate.
We’ll have our Las Vegas beat writer Rob Silverman on hand Saturday when Wheeler takes the mound against his former teammate Aaron Laffey – now with the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate Albuquerque Isotopes.
In his last two starts, Wheeler has rebounded nicely after a rocky start to his season. In 12.2 innings pitched he’s limited opponents to just one run on eight hits and two walks while striking out twelve.
Overall, the Mets’ top pitching prospect has a 4.00 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in seven starts, and the league is batting .246 against him.
Wheeler believes his turnaround was due to an adjustment he made to his delivery. “I was keeping my shoulder square to the plate, which allows me to have a bit better command,” he told MLB.com. “Before, the command was off, and the mechanics allow me to hit spots a little bitter, sharpens up my pitches.”
Kevin Burkhardt of SNY has been calling for Wheeler’s promotion since the season began and last night he said that if he pitches two more starts like his last two, he will be here. Darling and Cohen both agreed with him and spend about 5-10 minutes of every broadcast this season talking up Wheeler with little to no concern about triggering the extra year of arbitration eligibility for Wheeler.
I actually asked one of SNY’s producers about that last month, to which he said “Wheeler is all most Met fans want to hear about regarding the minors. That’s all they care about.”
It’s been widely reported that June 4th is the cutoff this season for avoiding Super Two eligibility for Wheeler.
A team source told Mike Puma of the NY Post, that “it’s highly unlikely” that Wheeler will be a candidate for promotion to the Mets regardless of the results in his next start.
We’ll be looking forward to speaking with both Backman and Wheeler on Saturday, and as usual we will quickly post a full accounting of his performance when his night is done. We’re all hoping for another solid start as he inches closer and closer to joining Matt Harvey in the Mets rotation.
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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