New York Mets top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler turned in what very well may end up being his final minor league start for quite some time. The 23-year-old went 5 1/3 innings against Tacoma giving up just 1 run on 1 hit while striking out seven.
The lone hit was a home run to Carlos Peguero and that mistake proved costly enough to pin Wheeler with the loss on the evening as the 51′s were shut out.
Carlos Peguero homers against Zack Wheeler in the 5th. First hit against Wheeler. 51s down 1-0. No run support. Good prep for bigs.
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) June 14, 2013
Recently demoted Ike Davis and Mike Baxter were a combined 1-7 for the game and Robert Carson gave up two more runs in his lone inning of work, so this was a seemingly fitting prep for the bigs. Still, those in attendance were impressed with what Wheeler was bringing.
Wheeler allows a home run. But I have to say, his stuff is ridiculous. Even a dumb writer like me can see that.
— Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) June 14, 2013
After the game, Wheeler apparently took recently promoted relief prospect Jack Leathersich under his wing and introduced him to a tasty burger.
Showing @LeatherRocket what In-n-out is all about
— Zack wheeler (@Wheelerpro45) June 14, 2013
In and Out for the first time @Wheelerpro45 pic.twitter.com/DuucEh8Juc
— Jack Leathersich (@LeatherRocket) June 14, 2013
Photo by Michael G. Baron
If you follow Zack Wheeler on Twitter he comes off as a determined young man who enjoys hanging out with his teammates. While it’s impossible to know what anyone is really about from Twitter alone, it’s a positive sign when you can see a young player interacting with fans and teammates in a appropriate way through social media, especially when it’s so easy to slip up. None of that may really matter when it comes to how they perform on the field, I just mention my opinion because the New York Daily News has an article up today that seems a bit careless in it’s characterization of Wheeler. But hey, it’s based on observations from a ‘baseball insider’, so you know it must be true.
At any rate, with Terry Collins announcing that Wheeler will be promoted and start for the Mets this coming Tuesday during a double-header in Atlanta, Wheeler’s final numbers for Vegas will probably end up looking something like this.
Different players and different ballparks (Vegas is a launching pad), but since everyone likes to make the comparison, Matt Harvey finished his Triple-A season last year with a 3.68 ERA in 110 innings pitched and his K:BB ratio (2.3) was actually worse than Wheelers (2.7). Fans can’t expect Wheeler to be anything but himself and while the city is starved for hope, the Mets fan base is smart enough to know that success will come with experience. Hopefully the growing pains are limited but I think the excitement and support will be overwhelming regardless.