Zack Wheeler, RHP
Player Data: Age: 27, B/T: L/R, Free Agency: 2020
2017 Primary Stats: 3-7 Record, 17 GS, 86 1/3 IP, 5.21 ERA, 5.03 FIP, 1.587 WHIP, 8.4 K/9, 0.4 WAR
2018 Contract Status: 2nd-Year Arbitration Eligible
Zack Wheeler‘s final statistics of the 2017 season were not very impressive. His season was also cut short due to injury yet again. However, there were some bright spots for the 27-year-old in the 2017 season.
After a poor outing to begin the season where Wheeler gave up five runs in four innings, he began a stretch of respectable starts from April 12 to April 29.
In those starts he gave up as many as four runs and as little as one run. He went a season-high seven innings in the one game he gave up the four runs. During that stretch he went 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, and 21 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings.
Considering 2017 was Wheeler’s first season back from Tommy John surgery, it would be hard to ask for more than what he was doing in April. However, he kicked it into high gear for his next six starts.
Wheeler made five quality starts in those six outings. He had a 2.48 ERA, a 1.431 WHIP, and 31 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings. While he may have let opponents get on base at a high clip, he didn’t allow them to score often. By June 7, Wheeler had a 3.45 season ERA.
Everything went downhill from there though. Wheeler only made six starts the rest of the season as he was shut down due to a stress reaction in his right arm. In those six outings, he only made one quality start.
The first two starts of the six were his worst two of the entire season. On June 13, he gave up six hits, three walks, and eight runs in 1 2/3 innings. He followed that up with a fiasco on June 19 that included giving up eight hits and seven runs in two innings.
Wheeler was a streaky pitcher in 2017. While the overall product was subpar, he showed some promise after not pitching since 2014. With all things considered, it’s fair to give him a C grade.
Wheeler is in an interesting spot. While the Mets do need pitching help in 2018, quantity is not the issue. The Mets have nine guys who could see some time in the rotation in Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, Matt Harvey, Robert Gsellman, Rafael Montero, Chris Flexen, and Wheeler.
The Mets showed that Wheeler is still part of their plans in some way, shape, or form as they ended up tendering him a contract before Friday’s 8:00 p.m. deadline. Of course that only makes sense for the once top prospect who has shown some promise in the past and is projected to make only $1.9 million for 2018.
It’s hard to see Wheeler as a lock in the rotation at this point. How he feels and pitches in Spring Training may have a big impact on how much time he’ll see in the rotation.