Will Mets Promote Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in 2012?


This situation seems to be getting ridiculous. While I was relaxing on vacation for a few days, I did my best to keep up with what’s happening with the Mets through the end of the All-Star break and the official start of the second half. Dillon Gee‘s injury has really put the organization in a tough spot. Thankfully, it looks like Gee will be OK as he starts recovering from a scary medical condition. However, someone needs to fill his spot into the rotation, which is where Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler come into the picture.

Sandy Alderson has been asked about his top two pitching prospects all season as the Mets have continued to overachieve. Most recently, he said that Harvey has much a lot of progress with Triple-A Buffalo this year that he could see him pitching in the Big Leagues in 2012, but only to fill a need. On the other hand, Wheeler, who is still with Double-A Binghamton, will by no means be making an apperance in the MLB this season. This makes sense since it seems that Harvey is further along in his development than Wheeler. In 18 starts with the Bisons, Harvey is 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA to go along with 102 strikeouts in 98.1 innings pitched. Meanwhile, Wheeler has never pitched above Double-A in his career, and is 9-4 this season with a 2.39 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 101.2 innings pitched.

Wally Backman, the manager of the Bisons, has gone back and forth on his opinion of Harvey being promoted, but he has said that if the Mets have a need for him, the young right-hander would be able to fill that need. So, Harvey’s start Monday for Buffalo is turning into an audition, with a slew of Mets officials to be on hand evaluating his performance to determine whether he’s worthy of a promotion. The organization feels that his fastball and curveball are refined, but his changeup needs some work. Terry Collins said that either Harvey or Miguel Batista will be starting for the Mets on Saturday, and after seeing Batista’s effort out of the bullpen Friday night, I would like to see just about anyone other than him take the mound.

Promoting Harvey seems to be the route the Mets are going to go, and I think it’s the right move. After Mike Pelfrey went down in April with his injury, the organization could have rushed Harvey up to the the big club to fill the void, but they were able to allow him to stay in Triple-A and refine his pitches after he had a tough spring in the Big League camp. They didn’t want to bring him up for just a couple of spot starts, but for a while, and this looks to be the perfect opportunity. However, this talk about promoting Wheeler needs to stop.

While the 22-year-old top pitching prospect that the Mets acquired from the Giants last year has been dominating Double-A and should be getting a promotion to Triple-A sooner rather than later, promoting Wheeler to the Major Leagues would be the epitome of rushing him and press the panic button. Also, where exactly would he fit on the roster? Terry Collins told reporters earlier this weekend that Wheeler could be considered for a promotion sometime this year, and after all the talking that Alderson did about not rushing their top prospects, that’s exactly what they may do.

Scouts that have seen Wheeler pitch this year have said that he’s Major League-ready, but that’s not the point. He’s still only 22-years-old and being promoted to the Mets to help them stop a ship that is sinking is a lot of unneeded pressure while he’s still developing. Also, he’s given up 12 earned runs in his last 3 starts (before last night’s complete game shutout), not numbers that should warrant a reward. When looking at these two pitchers, the easy choice is to promote Harvey; he’s battle-tested in Buffalo and his time is now. Wheeler’s time is not here yet.

One can only hope that they’re not considering putting Wheeler in the bullpen…remember how that’s worked/working with Jenrry Mejia? He’s a starter, and should stay a starter throughout his entire development. Right now, the Mets have two needs; to fill Dillon Gee’s rotation spot and to fix the bullpen. Harvey should be the answer for the rotation, and as much as Alderson doesn’t want to spend to get outside talent to help the ‘pen, he’s going to have to because there aren’t enough answers within the organization. I certainly hope that Sandy isn’t sacrificing their entire organizational philosophy because they don’t want to make some moves on the trade market.

It would be better for the Mets to wait until it got closer to the deadline to make some deals, but at 46-42 and 5.5 games out of first thanks to two straight losses to the Braves and a trip to D.C. to take on the first-place Nationals up next, something needs to be done quick by mangement; the front office needs to inject some life into this team and show that they believe in this team. Whether it’s bringing up Harvey or making a deal for a reliever pronto, something has to happen. It’s your move Sandy, don’t make us pull our hair out.