I try not to get too excited about prospects, especially those playing below AAA, but I’m having trouble suppressing my giddiness over Zack Wheeler.
Wheeler reeled off 7 innings of 3-hit ball last night against Reading, walking none and striking out 8. He threw an efficient 90 pitches, 68 of them for strikes.
This season for the AA Binghamton Mets, he now has a 1.88 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, a 2.86 K/BB ratio, and is averaging 10.3 Ks per 9 innings. In his 9 starts this season, he’s given up no more than 2 earned runs in each outing. He’s been positively Strasburgian.
He has a 94-97 MPH fastball, a big, sharp-breaking curve, and mixes in a slider and changeup.
“My slider was struggling a little bit, but I was using my curveball, changeup and fastball and getting ahead of people,” Wheeler said of last night’s performance. Considering he retired 19 of the first 20 batters he faced, yeah, I’d say that was a good strategy.
GM Sandy Alderson is in no hurry to rush him through the system, as his predecessor was wont to do (see: Pelfrey, Mike and Mejia, Jenrry). Alderson knows the trade for Wheeler, and his development, is not about 2012. It’s about 2013, 2014, and many years to come.
Tonight, Carlos Beltran returns to Queens in a Cardinals uniform. Beltran’s been tearing up the Gateway City, and making Missourians forget about Albert Pujols. Beltran’s 15 home runs sure would look good in a Mets lineup, especially batting cleanup behind David Wright and Daniel Murphy, who always seem to be on base. But the trade of Carlos to the Giants for Wheeler was a no-brainer.
Beltran is still struggling with knee problems. He hasn’t missed much time yet this year, but the season is young. More than that, however, the Mets dire financial situation at the time (it’s slightly less dire now), dictated the dump of the rest of Beltran’s salary.
As great as Beltran was for the Mets in the past, I’m more excited about the future of Wheeler.
And again, the Mets focus should be on the future, despite the fact that the Mets are still in it here on June 1. Their flaws remain glaring. But thanks to prospects like Wheeler, their future is beginning to look bright.