No season will be bigger for New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler than the 2019 season.
Carlos Beltran will forever be a beloved part of New York Mets history. He brought many happy memories to fans during his seven seasons in Queens. In 2011, the Mets traded Beltran to the San Francisco Giants, leaving them with one thing to remember him by: Zack Wheeler.
The Mets received Wheeler as the lone return for Beltran in 2011, one of the best centerfielders in franchise history. Ever since the trade, Wheeler has been held to a higher standard by Mets fans. He was looked at as a top prospect and a future ace. Going into the 2013 season, he was ranked sixth on the MLB.com’s Top Prospect list.
As he heads into 2019 coming off the best baseball of his career in the second half of 2018 and free agency right around the corner, Wheeler is ready to have a dominant season in 2019.
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Wheeler has a career record of 33-30, and an ERA of 3.70. After a very promising debut in 2013, he started 17 games his rookie year. His 2014 season was impressive, but then he missed the whole 2015 and 2016 seasons due to Tommy John Surgery. Returning in 2017, it took some time for Wheeler to get comfortable and return back to his normal self. 2018 was arguably his best season yet.
In 2018, he had career-bests in wins (12), WHIP (1.12), and ERA (3.31). However, his second half was unreal. Before the All-Star Break, his ERA was 4.44 and he was 3-6. During the second half of the season, Wheeler went 9-1 with a 1.68 ERA. He ranked ninth in the NL for opponent batting average.
Opponents hit .179 against the Georgia native during the second half, which would have ranked first if he pitched like that all year. In his 11 starts after the All-Star Break, Wheeler was pitching at a brand-new caliber. He was simply out there dominating every fifth game.
Wheeler is going to continue his success from the second half this year. If he hones that part of himself, he will be looking at huge contracts come next offseason. Wheeler heads into free agency after this season. After not signing an extension, Wheels looks to capitalize on the opportunity to have a huge year prior to free agency.
He is going to make sure he returns to his high caliber he was pitching at last season. If he pitches like that this season, Wheeler, who will be 29 during the season, will be looking to sign a deal similar to the Washington National Patrick Corbin, six-year, $140 million. Getting a deal like this might be difficult, but it is very possible for the young righty.
In order for 2019 to be a good one for Wheeler, he must continue to get ahead of the count as much as possible. When he throws a few balls and falls behind in the count, he becomes much more susceptible to giving up big hits. A key to a big season is consistently throwing a first-pitch strike.
The 2019 campaign can be a milestone season in Wheeler’s career. He looks to turn the corner and become a big-time pitcher. He wants it.
He wants to notch his first All-Star appearance. He wants to pitch 200 innings and dominate. And he wants to receive lucrative offers in December.
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Zack Wheeler is ready to take the mound and see what 2019 has to offer for him and his team in Flushing.