Tonight Zack Wheeler takes on the team that drafted him for the second time this season. The first time the 23-year old faced the Giants, he was publicized as the “Robin” to the leading Cy-Young candidate and NL All-Star Game Starter Matt Harvey; perhaps unfairly so.
Since that initial outing at AT&T against his former franchise; much has changed. Harvey and a pitching rubber between now and 2015 is in question, and Wheeler has taken significant strides since his call up.
Speaking with Wheeler 1-on-1 regarding his own personal adjustments since making it to the big leagues, he says he feels his most significant improvement has been his command.
“I think my command has gotten a little better,” said Wheeler when asked what has changed since his call-up. “I think it’s repeating my mechanics, being more consistent with it allows me to be more consistent in the strike zone.”
Wheeler’s numbers back up his sentiments. In his first nine starts with the Mets, the Georgia-native had walked at least two batters per game. He has since cut that mark down significantly, walking one batter or less in five of his last seven outings.
Starting out in the infamously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League under the red-hot Las Vegas sun, Wheeler says he is much more content in Flushing and finds it easier to pitch in the show.
“It’s definitely better to be over here,” said Wheeler. “I mean you’re in a big league park, big league atmosphere–weather is a lot nicer–so it is a lot easier to pitch in.”
With a 3.22 ERA through his first 16 starts, Wheeler says he is pleased with how the beginning to his major league career has played out.
“It’s going great,” said Wheeler when asked about how he has felt about his season thus far. “I mean I’m up here in the big leagues and I’m doing well, so I don’t think it could get any better.”
As Wheeler gets set to face his old team at his new home tonight, a team that has a number of talented arms of their own, he says the prospect of being the ace next year does not affect him.
“It doesn’t matter to me what I am,” said Wheeler when asked about the possibility of being the lone ace in 2014 due to the uncertainty surrounding Harvey. “I am just going to go out there and pitch the best that I can.”