Results tagged ‘ Zack Wheeler ’

Poll: Who should be the Mets’ Opening Day starter?

The Mets do not plan on adding another top- or even middle-tier starter before Opening Day, so it’s worth asking the question now: who should start on March 31?

The candidates, in alphabetical order:

Bartolo Colon: No Mets pitcher enjoyed a better 2013 season than Colon, who ranked second in the American League in ERA while with the A’s. He’s the oldest, most established pitcher on this list, but he is new to the team and the clubhouse.

Dillon Gee: Consistency matters, and Gee had plenty of it in 2013. After a rocky first two months of the season, he went on a 22-start tear that included 15 quality starts and saw him give up more than four runs in an outing just twice. The run ended his season, dropping his ERA from 6.34 to 3.62.

Jon Niese: The Mets’ Opening Day starter in 2013, Niese pitched through injury for most of the first half before bouncing back closer to his previous levels. He is the homegrown veteran of the staff, having established himself before Dillon Gee, and is the only member of the rotation under long-term contract.

Zack Wheeler: Aside from Matt Harvey, who will miss the entire season due to Tommy John recovery, no Mets starter is more jaw-droppingly talented than Wheeler. But he is also young and green, with only 17 career big league starts to his credit.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Sage advice for Zack Wheeler: cut down on the walks

The perpetually thought-provoking site Fangraphs came out with a statistical analysis today regarding Zack Wheeler, and what he needs to do to improve in his first full big league season. The piece focused a good deal on Wheeler’s need — naturally — to keep his shoulder healthy. But it also focused on his walk rate.


Simply put, Wheeler’s middling strikeout rate (7.6) and high walk rate (4.1) put him among a group of highly-touted young pitchers with divergent career paths. Some, such as Sean Gallagher, never sorted out their control problems and suffered because of it. Others, such as David Price, cut down on the walks and turned superhuman.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s certainly worth noting: Wheeler’s future will depend in large part upon how well he pounds the strike zone.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Merry Christmas from Mets Cetera

Christmas photos courtesy of the Mets:

SAMSUNG CSCwheelersanta2

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets visit Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9

Twelve years minus one day after terrorist attacks struck the World Trade Center, the Mets again paid tribute.


To learn more about Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, check out this Eyewitness News piece from two years ago.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Wheeler: “I don’t think I’m the savior at all”

Zack Wheeler just held a 14-minute introductory press conference, a day before he is slated to make his big league debut at Turner Field. Here’s a sampling of what was said:

wheelercroppedWhat kind of turnout are you expecting tomorrow?
“From what I hear and see, it’s going to be a huge turnout. I grew up in Smyrna and that’s about 30 minutes away from here. I moved out to where I live now [Dallas, Ga.] my eighth grade year. I’ve got both sides coming, so it’s going to be a lottttt of people.”

How do you feel about people expecting you to be the savior here?
“I don’t think I’m the savior at all. We’ve got great arms here and we’ve got great players. We might not be doing too well right now, but I know the talent of these guys and hopefully we can turn it around soon. I’m just trying to come up here and help the team any way I can.”

Can you enjoy this considering how much the Mets are struggling?
“Obviously you’re getting pulled up to the big leagues so it’s going to be a good time in your career, a good time in your life. You can enjoy it. I’m up here trying to help the team any way possible, good or bad.”

What did you learn at Triple-A Las Vegas?
“It was definitely an experience just seeing balls fly and the ground’s really hard, so some balls get through the infield. I think it makes you battle a little bit more, puts a little bit more pressure on you. That’s what I took away from that league is it puts you in situations that you might not be in sometimes, like those ground balls getting through one after another, then you’ve got to stay out there and just battle. You get out of it sometimes, and sometimes you don’t, so it might boost your confidence a little bit. That’s what I take away from that league.”

How do you feel about following in Matt Harvey’s footsteps?
“That’s the thing. He set the bar so high because he just took off once he came up here. Some people expected it. Some people didn’t. I’m just going to go out there and do the best that I can. People can take it how they want it. Hopefully I’ll do well and just be up there with him.”

Why did you choose uniform No. 45?
“Just growing up, I think I’ve always had 12 or 21 or something like that. And then Adam [Wheeler], the one who played baseball, my brother, he always had 45 for some reason. I don’t even know why he had it, but I just grew up liking it. I took it over when I was about 12 or 13.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Zack Wheeler preparing for call-up

From Twitter:



Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets PR guru flies across country to prep Zack Wheeler

Here’s the latest evidence that Mets top prospect Zack Wheeler is nearing his big league debut: Mets vice president of media relations Jay Horwitz flew across the country on the team’s off day Monday to meet Wheeler face to face in Fresno, Calif.

The Daily News first reported Horwitz’s five-flight, 6,000-mile journey, which included a middle seat in coach and a 30-minute meeting with Wheeler lasting barely more than 24 hours all told. His mission: to assure Wheeler in person that everything will be taken care of once he arrives in New York, which could happen as soon as next weekend.

Once the trip became public Friday morning, Horwitz tweeted about it:

You may recall that the Mets were also cautious with Matt Harvey when he first came up last summer, shielding him from interview requests in the days between his first few starts. It was not until Harvey proved adept beyond his years with the media that the team loosened his shackles.

Wheeler’s personality is quite different than Harvey’s. He is quieter and more laid-back, so how that plays in New York City remains to be seen.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Who should come out of the rotation when Zack Wheeler arrives?

No one seems to want to come out of the rotation, with Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner both pitching well of late. Obviously Matt Harvey and Jon Niese are here to stay, and the Mets have four million reasons to keep Shaun Marcum in the rotation as well.

What would you do?

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Why Zack Wheeler will not pitch for the Mets in April

Mets manager Terry Collins reiterated Tuesday that despite all the injuries to the rotation, Zack Wheeler is not a consideration to slide into the Opening Day rotation.

“There’s a reason why we sent him out,” Collins said. “He needs to go to Triple-A. He needs to face hitters in Triple-A. … He needs to go work on his stuff, and he needs to be able to do what he did toward midseason [last year], and that is pound the strike zone. Thus far, in the games he’s thrown over there, they said he’s been a little wild.”


The unspoken reason, of course, is service time. Should Wheeler accrue enough of it to become a Super Two player after the 2015 season, he would suddenly become eligible for free agency after the 2018 season as opposed to 2019 — at a time when the Mets could be highly competitive.

What’s more, Super Two status would give Wheeler four years of arbitration eligibility as opposed to the usual three. Should he develop into the type of ace that everyone expects, that would ultimately cost the Mets million of dollars and increase their starting point for free agency negotiations (which, of course, would begin a full year sooner). It’s an escalating factor, because arbitration salaries are based heavily upon what players made the previous year.

A prime example is Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, who made $4.2 million as a Super Two player in 2009. By his fourth year of arbitration eligibility he was up to $15 million, blowing away MLB’s previous arbitration record. He and the Phillies then had a higher number to use as a reference when Hamels signed a $144-million megadeal last summer.

In other words, starting Wheeler in April as opposed to June could damage the team’s future payroll flexibility, at a time when they might otherwise be highly competitive in the free-agent market. The counterargument is that increased ticket sales in April and May would make up some of that money. The reality is that they would not come close.

It’s an awfully high cost for a team projected to lose close to 100 games, just for a few extra starts from Wheeler — who may not be 100 percent big league-ready anyway — in 2013. So criticize the Mets for being cheap on numerous occasions over the past few years if you want, but do not blame them for it here. This move is not cheap; it’s simply prudent.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

The scene: Santana, Wheeler throw off flat ground


Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 62 other followers