Originally posted on MetsZilla  |  Last updated 6/7/13
This time next Friday Happy Hour may be a little more happy as the New York Mets could call upon prized pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to start off a weekend series with the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York: The date is not set in stone because of factors such as potential rainouts in the interim, but is tentatively set. Jay Horwitz, the team’s vice president for media relations, flew to the West Coast during Monday’s Mets off-day to prep Wheeler for dealing with the New York media. The Mets have been waiting until after the “Super 2” deadline to promote Wheeler. By ensuring he is not in the first portion of MLB prospects called up this season, the Mets can delay Wheeler’s arbitration eligibility by a year, until after the 2016 season. Either way at this point, Wheeler would not be eligible for free agency until after the ’19 season.” John Harper chronicled Horowitz’s trip to meet and prep Wheeler in his column for the New York Daily News: Mets PR chief Jay Horwitz made a stealth trip to the West Coast on Monday, the club’s off day in Washington, D.C., to prep Wheeler on the do’s and don’ts of dealing with the big, bad, New York media. Photo by Michael G. Baron The Mets wanted the trip kept quiet, and so Horwitz, Twitter sensation that he has become, didn’t even tweet about it. However, when I told him that I had I heard about it from someone in the organization, he agreed to answer questions. The first question was fairly obvious, but as it turns out, someone had already asked it. “When I got to the airport,” Horwitz recalled, “the guy at the counter looked at my itinerary and said, ‘Hey, brother, did you lose a bet or something?’ ” Horwitz, who had flown on the team charter from Miami to Washington, D.C. Sunday night, was up at 4 a.m. for a 7 a.m. flight Monday from Reagan National to Phoenix, where he connected on a flight to Fresno, Calif., where the Mets’ Triple-A Las Vegas club was playing. He went to the ballpark and greeted manager and old friend Wally Backman, who looked at him the way the guy at the airport had and said, “What, are you nuts?” Then Horwitz met with Wheeler for 30 minutes, essentially reassuring him the Mets organization will do everything it can to ease him into the spotlight that awaits in New York.” Last week Mets manager Terry Collins warned that the 23-year-old, who is 4-1 with a 3.86 ERA for the Las Vegas 51′s, should not be viewed as the team’s savior: He’s not going to be the savior,” Collins said today before the Mets took on the Nationals. “There’s a lot of pieces that have to work. One guy is not going to turn this around. It takes 25.” “Certainly everybody’s excited because he’s a prospect,” Collins said. “You look down the road, with that arm and that stuff, that he could be a good pitcher for a long time. But there’s a lot of adjustments that are going to have to be made by him.  He’ll help. He’s got great stuff, but there’s been so much made of this poor kid. He hasn’t pitched a game in the big leagues yet and it looks like he’s going to be in the finals for the Cy Young. He’s not even here. We’ve got to let him get up here and pitch a little bit. If he pitches good, great. That’s super. If he struggles, this is the big leagues. You’re going to have tough times” Fortunately for Collins, Mets fans are to the point where they’re not sure if anything can save them, let alone a prospect (even one of Wheeler’s caliber).  Let’s face it, fans are jaded due to the unfulfilled expectations of prospects past and while Matt Harvey single-handedly ignites the fanbase every fifth day, nobody expects to hit the jackpot twice. Photo by Michael G. Baron What Wheeler undeniably offers, justifiably or not, is a chance for fans to get excited about watching a team that was recently swept by the worst team in baseball, the Miami Marlins.  Any time a player can do that it’s good for the club.  Whether or not it’s good for the player remains to be seen, but the team has certainly taken it’s time in promoting Wheeler and there are options to back him up if things don’t go well as both Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner have pitched very well of late.  The pressure is on, but with expectations surrounding the team at an all time low, now is as good a time as any to get a glimpse into the future. Notes- Here’s an interesting tweet from Jon Heyman, wonder how fans feel about the comparison? #bbpBox_341896428144173057 a { text-decoration:none; color:#009999; }#bbpBox_341896428144173057 a:hover { text-decoration:underline; } 1 scout likened zack wheeler to a.j. burnett, very good but not quite matt harvey 2. zack & aj have “slurvy” breaking ball June 4, 2013 8:37 am via webReplyRetweetFavorite @JonHeymanCBS Jon Heyman
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