Zack Wheeler made his first spring appearance with the Mets on Saturday and looked very impressive.
He started out a bit tight, seeming to maybe be overthrowing, which was totally understandable considering the massive microscope he has been living under in Florida this spring. He soon settled down, struck out a couple of Nats and enticed a couple of weak grounders as well. All things considered, he did a very nice job. The fastball was as advertised, and when this kid harnesses his ability, which he does seem to be well into the process of doing, he clearly will have the potential to be a front-of-the-rotation starter.
Lucas Duda appears to have picked up where he left off last year rather impressively, with six Ks in his seven spring ABs. Is The Dude simply abiding his time? Or is he in a funk that not even Walter Sobchak could profanely talk him out of?
This writer has been on the fence regarding The Dude; he did show some serious ability in 2011, but last year was largely a washout. His offense decreased significantly, while he was atrocious wherever he attempted to play defense. Having been basically given an OF spot already, shouldn’t he be free and easy this spring? Infinitesimal sample size to be sure, but considering how so many observers credit The Dude’s psyche with being the source of his troubles, getting off to a bad spring start simply cannot be good.
Veteran Marlon Byrd has been playing and leads one to think that this outfield competition is indeed going to be the true battle of camp. Cowgill has showed hustle, Collins clearly likes Kirk, and Baxter’s OBP and 2B production are very tempting, so there really should be quite the contest for the two open outfield spots, which could indeed become three should The Dude continue his struggles.
What do YOU think?
Should Wheeler join Kingman 26 in Las Vegas this spring or stay with the big club?
How much rope should The Dude be given?
Is Marlon Byrd really a serious competitor for a starting OF position?
Let us know!