New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler engineered a brilliant close to 2018 after a rough time in recovering from injuries in the last few years. He’s now done for the year.
After an incredible performance in the second half of the season, Zack Wheeler has been officially shut down for the last two weeks of the season. New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway officially made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon.
It puts an end to a season that was full of uncertainty at the beginning followed by a stellar second-half performance that has given the Mets a lot to think about this off-season. Wheeler has gone 9-1 with a 1.68 ERA in his last 11 starts. He also cut his walks nearly in half and allowed only three home runs in that stretch which covered 75 innings.
Wheeler went from being in the minor leagues at the outset of the season to being firmly entrenched as a starter, a job that he didn’t have nailed down since coming back from Tommy John surgery and a stress reaction that cut short his 2017 campaign.
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What was once a career that seemed like it was on the upward track quickly got derailed when he had to miss two years after Tommy John surgery. In these last couple of months, Wheeler has been making up for lost time and has grown into being what the Mets thought he would when they acquired him before the 2011 trade deadline.
Now the front office (which will change in the off-season) has several decisions to make going forward. One of them is going to revolve around Wheeler. The 2019 season will be his last year under team control before he’s eligible to hit the open market.
There’s no doubt that Wheeler can be a reliable frontline starter and these last couple of months (just like his last months before Tommy John surgery) proved. The only question remaining is if he can stay healthy long term.
Wheeler threw 182.1 innings with the Mets, a significant jump from last season’s 86.1 innings in only 17 starts. More importantly, Wheeler can go into a normal off-season routine in preparing for 2019 (assuming he’s not traded during the winter).
The shutdown was a no-brainer decision. This was a team long out of contention and Wheeler has shown how much of an asset he can be for this club going forward.
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The season has looked grim for the most part, but some individual pieces are perhaps starting to fall into place. Wheeler’s second-half performance leads the way in that narrative, which will hopefully continue over into 2019 and beyond.