Mets Diamond Notes: Wheeler Ends Season on High Note, Collins Says Dickey is Cy Young Worthy

By Matt Musico

With Zach Lutz and Mike Nickeas joining the team on Saturday as the first round of September call-ups, Terry Collins said more would be coming today and tomorrow. Collin McHugh will officially get activated in time for his start this afternoon against the Cardinals, and New York is anticipated to also bring up Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Jordany Valdespin, Elvin Ramirez, Fred Lewis, and possibly Matt Tuiasosopo once Buffalo’s season ends tomorrow. However, Zack Wheeler won’t join them for the final month of the season.

The organization will not be adding Wheeler to the extended September roster because they don’t want to add to the 149 innings he’s logged between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Buffalo this season. In his final start of the year against Lehigh Valley, Wheeler went 5 innings and gave up 1 run on 2 hits and 4 walks, while striking out 5 hitters. Overall, he finished the season with a 12-8 record and 3.26 ERA, including a 2-2 record and 3.27 mark in six starts with the Bisons.

It makes sense for the Mets to not promote Wheeler this month, but not because of the amount of innings he’s thrown. He’s still getting used to pitching in Triple-A; he had trouble with his control, as he walked 16 hitters in 33 innings following his most recent promotion. He’s had a wonderful season, and it’s better to end it on a high note and take these positive steps into the winter as he gets himself ready for 2013. He will make some noise during Spring Training, but he will likely take the same course as Matt Harvey did to the Majors, starting the year in Triple-A to refine his control, then get the call if there is a need for him in the rotation.

Wilmer Flores is starting to blossom as an impact hitter with Double-A Binghamton, and Baseball America has recognized his most recent hot streak, as they ranked him the #1 prospect on their Hot Sheet for the week of August 24-3o. In 27 at-bats last week, Flores hit .481 with 2 homers, 3 doubles, and a triple. He enjoyed four multi-hit games, while three of those were three-hit games for the infielder. In 128 games and 464 at-bats between Single-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton, Flores has hit .304/.353/.486 with 18 homers and 74 RBI. Once he was promoted to Binghamton, he’s hit .318/.370/.508 with 8 homers and 32 RBI.

It is likely that he will settle in at the third base position, which could make things interesting as the Mets will try to start negotiating a long-term deal with David Wright. The goal is to have the organization’s franchise player around for years to come, but the emergence of Flores, who, at the age of 21, has a high ceiling regarding his development, could become pivotal in the mind of Sandy Alderson. With the kind of year he had, Flores may not be far from the Majors, and if the Mets can’t agree with Wright on a deal and the third baseman (God forbid) leaves the team via free agency after the 2013 season, Flores could be the heir apparent in 2014. If they do agree to a deal with Wright, that could mean Flores is shopped this winter while his stock his high.

In talking to Anthony Rieber of Newsday, Terry Collins said before Sunday’s game he felt R.A. Dickey is worthy of winning the Cy Young award:

“We’ve had a tough time scoring runs, especially in the second half of the season, and he continues to win.

We are [eight] games below .500 and he’s [13] games over .500. That says a lot. … I know we’ve had a collapse in the second half, but when you look at what he’s done the entire year, he’s racked up numbers against every team in baseball. No matter who he’s faced, he’s pitched great.”

As long as the knuckleballer continues to win and keep pace with the rest of the field, he has a very good chance at winning this coveted award. Unlike the MVP award, the Cy Young award isn’t about whether or not a pitcher is more valuable to their team than another, but who has the most dominant performance. That’s why Clayton Kershaw was able to win it last year and Felix Hernandez was able to do the same a few years ago. Even though the Mets are out of contention, Dickey’s chances of winning the award are very real.