Found June 17, 2013 on
New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants
Now that he's about to make his highly anticipated debut with the New York Mets, Zack Wheeler will rely on some advice he got from a minor league coach.
Don't look up.
''I know it's going to be a big moment in my life,'' Wheeler said Monday, the day before he takes the mound against the first-place Atlanta Braves. ''There's probably going to be some nerves.''
The 23-year-old right-hander is one of baseball's top pitching prospects and a reason for hope in what is turning out to be another dismal season for the Mets. Heightening the anticipation, he'll be making his first start in the big leagues not far from where he grew up in the northwest Atlanta suburbs, meaning plenty of family and friends will be in the stands at Turner Field.
Wheeler said he'll try to follow a tip he got a couple of years ago from his pitching coach in Class A, former big leaguer Steve Kline, who said all the sights and sounds of a big league park can be a bit overwhelming the first time out.
''He said, `Whatever you do, don't look up,''' Wheeler said. ''I think he threw up off the back of the mound his first game. I'll always remember that advice.''
The youngster will be joining a rotation that already includes 24-year-old Matt Harvey, who is having a brilliant year (5-1, 2.04 ERA, 102 strikeouts in 97 innings) in his first full major league season. And, in an interesting twist, Harvey will pitch the opener of a day-night doubleheader before Wheeler goes in the second game.
For the Mets, it's a chance to show their frustrated fans what they hope will be the centerpieces of a brighter future.
''I don't think I'm a savior at all,'' Wheeler said. ''We've got some great arms here, some great players. We might not be doing too well right now, but I know the talent of these guys. Hopefully we'll turn it around soon. I'm just trying to come up here and help the team any way I can.''
Wheeler arrived in Atlanta on Sunday and got a chance to hang out with family and three of his friends at the suburban Atlanta home he shares with one of his brothers.
''It was a good night, just talking and hanging out and telling some stories,'' Wheeler said. ''We had a good time.''
Now, it's time to get down to business. His first start comes against a power-laden Braves team that holds the biggest lead of any division leader, a team he remembers following as a kid when they had pitchers such as Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz - though Wheeler downplayed his allegiance to the team he'll be facing.
''I wasn't a huge baseball fan,'' Wheeler said. ''I liked watching basketball a little bit better. But how could I not watch the Braves growing up? My pop was always watching them. They were always good. But I'm not a huge Braves fan like everyone thinks I am.''
Wheeler was the sixth overall draft pick by the San Francisco Giants in 2009 after being selected as Georgia's top prep player his last two years at East Paulding High School. He was dealt to the Mets in 2011 for outfielder Carlos Beltran and started this season at Triple-A Las Vegas, where he got off to a slow start but pitched much better in recent weeks. He was 4-2 with a 3.93 ERA for the Pacific Coast League team.
The hard-throwing Wheeler struck out 73 in 68 2-3 innings, but 27 walks were a bit of a concern. He'll be looking to get more pitches over the plate in the big leagues.
''I walked a lot of guys in the minors,'' Wheeler said. ''That's always been a problem with me. I want to come after hitters and throw strikes.''
New York manager Terry Collins said he told Wheeler the same thing he told Harvey before his big league debut.
''He's only one guy and he's going to go out there every fifth day,'' Collins said. ''I told him if he pounds that strike zone, he'll help.''
Wheeler is just the latest in a long list of players to emerge from the baseball-rich Atlanta suburbs, a group that includes a couple of Braves regulars, outfielder Jason Heyward and catcher Brian McCann.
Wheeler, in fact, has worked out with Heyward during the offseason.
They'll be facing each other Tuesday.
''I'm happy for him,'' Heyward said. ''It'll be fun.''
Wheeler said it helped to grow up playing in an area that has produced so many big leaguers, and his development was pushed along even more by his time in Las Vegas, where the altitude and baked-out desert infield created conditions that definitely favored the hitters.
''It makes you battle a little bit more,'' he said. ''It puts a little more pressure on you.''
He'll try not to put too much pressure on himself as a rookie, even though Harvey has already set a high standard.
''I'll just go out there and do the best I can,'' Wheeler said. ''People can take it how they want. Hopefully I'll do well and be up here with him for a while.''
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
I noticed a few things during Zack Wheeler’s start I’d like to point out. A few things impressed me and there are some things that are noteworthy after doing some research:
Of Wheeler’s seven strikeouts, six were swinging and it was only the opposing pitcher that took a called third strike.
All seven third strikes were fastballs. Six were four-seamers, none of those were less...
Zack Wheeler is here, so the New York Mets might as well get a real good look under his hood to see how the gears in his gut work.
The Mets believe they have another young star pitcher in their midst, but were on verge of watching a scoreless debut unravel. At the time, a Mets’ 6-1 victory and doubleheader sweep of the first-place Braves seemed highly unlikely.
WHEELER: Wins debut...
Zack Wheeler is excited about his big league debut with the New York Mets, especially since he'll be pitching not far from where he grew up.
Wheeler is a native of suburban Atlanta and will have plenty of family and friends in the stands at Turner Field on Tuesday night, when he pitches the second game of a doubleheader against the Braves.
The 23-year-old right-hander is one...
On a day billed as Super Tuesday, the Real Deal and the Wheel Deal became running mates that Mets fans hope to support for years to come. Just hours after Matt Harvey held the Braves hitless into the seventh inning, Zack Wheeler kept Atlanta off the scoreboard through six frames, picking up the victory in his much-anticipated major league debut, as the Mets defeated the Braves...
Mark Simon of ESPN New York had a great post on Sunday in which he ranked the Top 11 memorable Mets debuts over the team’s history. He included both pitching and hitting debuts. Check out his work and research here. (This is great for some of you younger Mets fans)
I pulled the pitchers out of his list to see where Zack Wheeler might rank on this list. Here are the top five.
ATLANTA -- When former MLB pitcher Steve Kline made his major league debut in April 1997, he elevated his eyes to take the lights and fans and noise of Oakland-Alemada County Stadium and the immediate effects were of the nauseating variety. Big league debuts are not easy. According to Kline's star pupil in Low-A ball, he threw up off the back of the mound.
So as that star pupil...
On Tuesday, during the second game of a doubleheader against the first place Atlanta Braves, Mets prized pitching prospect Zack Wheeler will make his long anticipated major league debut.
For Wheeler, he will feel unlike any other pitching prospect who who is making his first big league start. He’ll be wound up tighter than the guts of a baseball and those butterflies will be fluttering...
Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.
1. Featured Game: New York NL at Atlanta, 19:10 ET
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule
Featured Game: New York NL at Atlanta, 19:10 ET
The Purpose of This Post, Predominantly
The purpose of this post predominantly is to prolong the author’s employment with FanGraphs...
THE BIG DAY.
Today is more than just Harvey day. It is more than Wheeler day. It is more than Wheeler debut day. It is Harvey and Wheeler Day! I would say chances of this happening again are rather slim but the Mets run into bad weather like I miss the subway (ie. a lot). Anyway, last night’s game got delayed until after 10 and the Mets ended up losing the game 2-1 after a 2 run...
Believe it or not, I ended up missing most of the game last night tending to some medical issues. But you have to love the the technology era we live in. Thanks to my phone, those mid-inning video updates from the MLB app, my Twitter app, and of course DVR. It felt like I was there. This morning at 7:05 AM I watched the game in it’s entirety and wow was I impressed.
I can’t even...
The Mets completed a day/night double header sweep with 6-1 victory over the Braves. The Mets and Braves completed 3 baseball games all within 24 hours, something that does not happen often. The Braves saw 2 pieces of the Mets future today as they saw Matt Harvey in game 1, and Zack Wheeler (1st Start) in game 2. Both pitchers did not disappoint. Harvey has been stellar this...
Harvey dominates and Wheeler deals The New York Metropolitans have a new-look rotation in 2013. Rookie ace Matt Harvey has burst onto the scene with dominant command and has become an instant fantasy star. Waiting in the wings all season long has been uber-prospect Zack Wheeler, and yesterday the Mets got a chance to do something [...]
Anthony DiComo is reporting that Travis d’Arnaud has been cleared to begin a running program, after he saw doctors today. That’s great news, and now you can get your minds running about the possibility of Travis d’Arnaud catching Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in September. D’arnaud should be heading to Port St. Lucie to get his rehab started.
I’m sure all Mets fans are...
Ben and Sam discuss their expectations for Zack Wheeler and other young pitchers, then talk about the true story behind the Dodgers signing Yasiel Puig.
New York Mets at Atlanta Braves
Turner Field, Atlanta • Game 1 1:10 PM • Game 2 7:10 PM
RHP Matt Harvey (5-1, 2.04) vs LHP Alex Wood (0-0. 3.52)
RHP Zack Wheeler (0-0, 0.00) vs LHP Paul Maholm (7-5, 3.65)
Game 1 Staring Lineup
Here is the lineup for the 1:10 p.m. matinee of a split doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves.
Collin Cowgill, lf
Daniel Murphy, 2b