Originally posted on The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog  |  Last updated 11/17/11

#41 Zack Wheeler

New York Mets

DOB: 5/30/1990

Previous Rank: N/R

ETA: 2014

Wheeler was traded straight up for Carlos Beltran in July and was sent immediately to High Class A St. Lucie where he posted a 2.00 ERA with a 31:5 K:BB ratio in 27 innings.  Those numbers were considerably better than those from the 88 innings he threw in the California League before the trade.  Nevertheless, Wheeler immediately became the top prospect in the Mets organization, and at just 21 years of age, he should be in the rotation at Citi by 2014.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff W L ERA G GS IP BB SO HBP 2010 20 Augusta SALL A SFG 3 3 3.99 21 13 58.2 38 70 7 2011 21 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+ SFG,NYM 9 7 3.52 22 22 115.0 52 129 6 2011 21 San Jose CALL A+ SFG 7 5 3.99 16 16 88.0 47 98 4 2011 21 St. Lucie FLOR A+ NYM 2 2 2.00 6 6 27.0 5 31 2 2 Seasons 12 10 3.68 43 35 173.2 90 199 13 A+ (1 season) A+ 9 7 3.52 22 22 115.0 52 129 6 A (1 season) A 3 3 3.99 21 13 58.2 38 70 7 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/16/2011. Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff W L ERA IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB 2010 20 Augusta SALL A SFG 3 3 3.99 58.2 1.449 7.2 0.0 5.8 10.7 1.84 2011 21 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+ SFG,NYM 9 7 3.52 115.0 1.322 7.8 0.5 4.1 10.1 2.48 2011 21 San Jose CALL A+ SFG 7 5 3.99 88.0 1.375 7.6 0.7 4.8 10.0 2.09 2011 21 St. Lucie FLOR A+ NYM 2 2 2.00 27.0 1.148 8.7 0.0 1.7 10.3 6.20 2 Seasons 12 10 3.68 173.2 1.365 7.6 0.4 4.7 10.3 2.21 A+ (1 season) A+ 9 7 3.52 115.0 1.322 7.8 0.5 4.1 10.1 2.48 A (1 season) A 3 3 3.99 58.2 1.449 7.2 0.0 5.8 10.7 1.84 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/16/2011.

Wheeler features a fastball that sits consistently around 94-95 mph with the ability to reach back for 97 mph.  His best secondary pitch is a true 60 curveball with good 12-6 shape and about 15 mph off of the heater.  His third pitch is a changeup that is far behind the other two pitches at this point due primarily to an inability to maintain arm speed or slot.  The pitch has arm side life with sink, though, and has a chance to be a useable pitch with just minor improvement.

His 6-foot-4 frame is lanky and projectable and might still allow him to pick up a tick on the fastball.  Wheeler should begin the year in Double-A and might push that ETA up a bit, but the Mets are the worst team in the East and have no business rushing either Wheeler or Harvey in our opinion.  The good news for fans in Queens is that the Mets appear to finally have real pitching prospects with real top-of-the-rotation upside.







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