After hinting at it following Monday night’s 9-4 win against the Philadelphia Phillies, manager Mickey Callaway has confirmed that the Mets are indeed shutting down starter Zack Wheeler for the remainder of the 2018 season. Wheeler had thrown 182.1 innings this year, just three shy of a career high in 2014 and over double his workload in an injury-shortened 2017 campaign.
Despite opening the year in Triple-A Las Vegas after a rough spring training, Wheeler certainly made an impression as a frontline starting pitcher upon his return. His final stats include (but are not limited to) a 3.31 ERA, 1.124 WHIP, 12-7 record, 0.7 HR/9, and a 3.25 K/BB ratio – all career bests as he posted a 4.0 WAR that currently ranks second on the team behind Jacob deGrom.
Wheeler concludes a dominant season, but a particularly remarkable second half, which featured a 1.68 ERA, 0.813 WHIP, 9-1 record, 0.4 HR/9, and a 4.87 K/BB ratio. While the decision may bring a sobering end to the year, it should go without saying that Wheeler and his fastball (which now regularly stands in the high-90s) have earned a place in next year’s starting rotation.
Callaway ensured reporters that the decision to shut him down had nothing to do with health, but rather came as a precautionary measure as Wheeler’s workload approached 200 innings in a season that the Mets are mathematically unable to do anything competitive with. He also added that the Mets would add Corey Oswalt to the starting rotation in his place. Oswalt, who has made short starts in each of his last two appearances, will get the ball for Saturday’s road contest against the Washington Nationals.