Zack Wheeler has been a huge part of the Mets rebuild and says he wants to be here when the team begins to turn it around, according to the Daily News. He hears his name often mentioned in various trade rumors for bats, most recently surrounding Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez until both went down with injuries.
“I know it’s the business, it’s part of the game,” Wheeler said. “I know that all these young pitchers can be used as trade bait, but I’ve been part of the rebuilding here. I’d like to see what happens.”
“I want to see the results.”
Pitching coach Dan Warthen feels Wheeler has shown real growth this season.
“He couldn’t control breaking balls on a regular basis,” Warthen said. “Now he can locate it on both sides of the plate. He can move a two-seam and four-seam (fastball) where he wants to. He’s become a pitcher, not just a thrower. Zack’s now a pitcher with really good stuff.”
Wheeler gave up four runs (two earned) over 5 2/3 innings in an 8-5 win over the Athletics on Wednesday. He missed his 10th consecutive quality start by one out.
Manager Terry Collins pulled Wheeler with two outs in the sixth inning, and the young righthander wasn’t happy about it. After 103 pitches, he was done.
Since he was 3-8 on June 30, Wheeler has won six straight, going 6-0 with a 2.40 ERA over his last 10 starts.
“You never want to be 3-8,” Wheeler said. “But I try to battle and just give your team a chance to win every time out.“
The six straight wins tie Bartolo Colon for the team high in consecutive victories this season.
It’s been a breakthrough season for Wheeler and in his last ten starts we’ve seen him dominate at times, but also gut it out when he didn’t have his best stuff. His curve and changeup have become big-time weapons and he’s no longer afraid to use them and throw them for strikes.
In a season where little has gone right, Wheeler has emerged as a clear number two starter and one of the most consistent starters in the National League.
This kid’s the real deal.
Like Bobby Ojeda said, I hope the Mets don’t baby him the rest of the way and instead allow him to grow into the bulldog and innings eater we need him to be.
(Updated by Joe D.)
At age 24, Zack Wheeler is hitting his stride. It’s tempting to say “finally” when it comes to him, but in reality he’s still a very young pitcher. What makes Wheeler different is his potential.
He was highly sought after from a very young age and it seems like we’ve been watching him for a long time. In reality, he’s only been in the Mets farm system for three years. It definitely seems like longer.
What we are witnessing in 2014 is the birth of a number two starter. While Wheeler may have the potential and skills to be a number one, it’s clear that he doesn’t quite have that bulldog mentality that has pushed Matt Harvey to the front of the Mets rotation. Not yet anyway.
Winning teams need solid arms throughout the rotation and Wheeler is showing us his keen ability to be that number two guy in tandem with Harvey. Some people will look at being a “No. 2” as a negative. After all, the ace of the staff always gets the spotlight.
But for every Dwight Gooden there has to be a Ron Darling. For every Tom Seaver there’s a Jerry Koosman. Andy Pettitte is an amazing example of a #2. He was never the best pitcher on a team but embraced the role of taking the ball in game two better than anyone.
Over his last nine starts, Wheeler hasn’t lost a game, lowering his ERA along the way from 4.25 to 3.49 and striking out almost a batter per inning over that stretch. He also has gone at least 6.0 innings in every start since his shelling against Oakland on June 25th.
Wheeler still has room to grow. He is only 24 after all. There’s no question that he can grow mentally as a pitcher, learning to fight back and win games when he isn’t quite ‘on.’
If he can push his game, especially from a mental perspective, there’s a chance that he could surpass Harvey. I’ll take the stand that Wheeler will always be the #2 on this staff and that should be perfectly fine with him (and Mets fans).