The Mets number one pitching prospect has had quite a run since he joined the organization right before last year’s trade deadline. Zack Wheeler had some concerns before the Double-A season started with the Binghamton Mets. One was the weather; this was the first time he was going to be pitching in a climate that wasn’t warm year round. Thankfully, the weather has cooperated for Wheeler. His second area of concern was his pitch count; he had heard that Double-A hitters are more patient and he was concerned about keeping his pitch count under control. Well, after nine starts in Binghamton, neither of those things seem to be a problem.
Wheeler’s latest performance against the Reading Phillies was yet another dominant one; he was perfect through the first three innings last night, and once he gave up a hit Miguel Abreuin the fourth, Wheeler carried a one-hitter to the seventh inning en route to an 8-1 victory by Binghamton. He didn’t walk anyone for the second time this season, gave up only three hits, and retired the first 19 of 20
hitters that he faced. Wheeler tallied up eight strikeouts, which was one short of his career high. As for his concern of hitters being more patient, the 25th ranked MLB prospect threw 68 of his 90 pitches for strikes, a trend that he has continued all season long.
What I like the most about Wheeler is that he has a lot of pitches that he can go to on any given night. For instance, last night, he noted that his slider wasn’t working the way he wanted it to, but he was able to leverage his fastball, change-up, and curve ball to get the job done. That already shows how much as grown as a pitcher, even at such a young age; he recognized one pitch wasn’t working, and instead of forcing it, he used his others to get the job done. In his 52.2 innings pitched in Binghamton this year, Wheeler’s record now stands at 5-2 with a 1.88 ERA and 60 strikeouts. He’s started 15 games for the Mets since he was dealt from the Giants, and his ERA throughout the two minor league levels of play stands at a miniscule 1.92. It’s only that high because he gave up four runs in his Mets debut last August; if you take out that outing, his ERA within the organization is 1.55.
Every time Wheeler or Matt Harvey take the mound, it’s hard for Mets fans not to get as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning. They both are showing their raw talent and it seems that it’s all coming together a lot quicker than most have expected. Wheeler is fresh off of turning 22 this week, and Harvey, the pride of New London, CT, just turned 23 years old at the end of March. The sky is the limit for these two young hurlers and making sure both of them get the time and attention they need in the minors to grow into solid Major League starters will make the next couple of seasons, and hopefully, beyond, very exciting as we watch them continue moving up within the organization.