We continue our 2014 Mets Season in Review series with starting pitcher Zack Wheeler.
After an uneven start to the season that had some hysterical fans calling for the club to demote him to Triple-A, Wheeler settled in and finished the year with a flourish.
How he fared in 2014:
After a very solid rookie campaign in 2013, Wheeler improved nearly all facets of his game in 2014.
Wheeler’s K/9 from 2013 to 2014 rose from 7.56 to 9.08, his BB/9 dropped from 4.14 to 3.84, his HR/9 dropped from 0.90 to a miniscule 0.68. Wheeler’s ERA rose a tad in 2014 (up to 3.54 from 3.42 in 2013). However, a lot of that was due to poor defense behind him and bad luck. Wheeler’s FIP – a better indicator of how he actually pitched – was 3.55 in 2014, down significantly from the 4.17 it was in 2013.
With a fastball that averaged an even 95 MPH and improving secondary stuff, Wheeler was at times dominant in 2013. He tossed 185.1 innings, meaning he should be unencumbered innings-wise in 2015.
Areas to improve upon:
Although Wheeler’s walk rate went down, he’s still issuing too many bases on balls. At times, he can lose himself command-wise for full innings, something he has to learn to get in check.
If Wheeler can improve his command, his pitches-per-inning (an issue, but not the huge one many are making it out to be) will likely drop as a result.
Projected Role in 2015:
Entrenched in New York’s rotation, likely slotting in behind Matt Harvey.
Contract Status and Trade Rumors:
Wheeler will continue to earn near the major league minimum in 2015.
As far as trade rumors, with the Mets in possession of a glut of quality starting pitching, Wheeler (and others) will keep hearing their names come up.
It wouldn’t be shocking if Wheeler was dealt, but it would have to be in a deal for a true impact bat.