New York Mets: 5 Ways Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler's Call-Ups Will Help the Club
The magical 2012 season for the New York Mets has come to a screeching halt.
New York has stumbled out of the gate after the All-Star break as they have lost nine out of 10 games and are under .500 with a 47-49 record.
All the talk about making a push for the playoffs has stopped and now any moves addressing the roster will probably be made from within instead of acquiring pieces from other clubs.
One move that signifies this notion is the promotion of prospect Matt Harvey who is expected to make his first major league start Thursday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
With the Mets virtually out of the race, they need to find out what they have in their top prospects.
Harvey's call-up signifies the new plan they have for the season. Look for Zach Wheeler, another top pitching prospect, to get his big league opportunity soon.
Here are some ways that these two pitchers can help the struggling Mets in 2012.
Help the Starting Rotation
The starting rotation for the New York Mets was a big question mark heading into the 2012 season. To the pleasant surprise of the team and fans, this unit actually has been a strength until recently.
Dillon Gee is on the disabled list and has been quickly joined by ace Johan Santana with an ankle injury.
R.A. Dickey has come back to Earth a little bit and Chris Young might as well be throwing beach balls to the plate.
The Mets need help in the rotation and Harvey will fill a need and take a spot. If he does well, expect him to start the rest of the season and for many seasons to come for the Mets.
The book on Harvey is that he has a plus fastball as he can dial it up to 98 mph but can struggle with command.
Harvey has proved that he is ready to contribute on the major league level and is saying all the right things before he makes his debut.
“Just trust your stuff,” Harvey said. “Don’t try to be Superman. That’s not possible. I can’t be perfect. The only thing I can do is go out and do the best I can, and try and win as many games as I can.” (h/t The Star-Ledger)
Help the Bullpen
Hindsight is 20/20 and general manager Sandy Alderson knows he probably should have pulled the trigger on a trade for bullpen help a lot earlier.
He cannot go back and change that decision now but he can make moves within the organization to try and help it now. That is where Zach Wheeler comes in.
There is no doubt that Wheeler is a future starting pitcher for the Mets, but he can come in now and help the atrocious bullpen if Alderson wanted to make such a move.
If Wheeler does come up this season, the bullpen is his most likely destination. The Mets want to be cautious and allow him to get his feet wet instead of throwing straight into the fire of being in the rotation.
Wheeler is the prize the Mets claimed in the Carlos Beltran trade and he already has a fastball-curve combo suited for the big leagues. He has been a force in Double-A and is making the decision difficult for the Mets to bring him up.
Should Matt Harvey struggle in the rotation, the Mets could put him in the bullpen for the rest of the season to continue to allow him to develop at the major league level. His promotion does not feel like a one-time deal and New York seems committed to getting him acclimated to the major league game.
Help Bring Energy and Excitement to the Team
One thing that All-Star third baseman David Wright was excited about for the 2012 season was the mixture of veterans and young guys the team had.
Before the All-Star break, that mixture worked out pretty well. The team exceeded expectations and emotions were very positive.
Now the Mets have fallen back to the pack. They are two games under .500 and are 9.5 games behind the Washington Nationals in the National League East. Their enthusiasm has certainly waned from where it was at the start of the season.
Sometimes a roster change can jump start a turn around, especially with bringing prospects up. Look at guys like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout and how they have rejuvenated and energized their respective clubs.
It is an unfair comparison but if Harvey and Wheeler come up and do well, they can bring excitement to a club that is desperately looking for a spark.
The Mets are not having fun right now and the energy has been drained from the team. A youth movement of Harvey and Wheeler can help refuel his team.
Help Bring Excitement to the Fans
Nothing is more disheartening than watching your favorite team go down in flames. That is what the Mets have been doing after the break and fans have taken notice.
While there are still some optimists out there, reality has set in for most of the fanbase. It was most evident last night as the Mets lost to the Washington Nationals Monday night at Citi Field.
In the 10th inning, the Nationals went up 3-2 after a Bryce Harper single brought in a run and loaded the bases for Ryan Zimmerman. Then on a 1-2 count, Zimmeran smacked a Pedro Beato fastball that was right over the heart of the plate for a double, clearing the bases and putting Washington up 6-2.
The mass exodus started.
To make matters worse, Michael Morse was next up and he proceeded to crush a two-run homer off Beato to put the Nationals up 8-2.
The fans that were not already leaving started to make their way out the gate and the fans that did already get up could not get out of Flushing quick enough.
The dream of making a playoff push is turning into a horrible nightmare for fans. The opportunity has come and gone and now management has to find a way to keep the fans coming to the ballpark for the rest of the season.
Bringing up Harvey and Wheeler will help and do that.
Since this season seems to be a lost cause, fans like to look toward the future. The future for the Mets falls on the right arms of Harvey and Wheeler.
At the very least, they can help continue to bring fans to the ballpark and generate some excitement on what the future may hold for New York.
Help Management Plan the Direction for the Future
The New York Mets can now focus on the future.
Having Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler pitch at the major league level this season will help create the blueprints for the 2013 season and beyond.
Alderson and manager Terry Collins can take a look at their development and progression more closely which will help in how they utilize these pitchers moving forward.
If both Harvey and Wheeler pitch well, it will help ease any questions management has about them. If they struggle, the Mets may have to look in other directions for help.
Harvey is getting the first opportunity Thursday against Arizona. Collins is being very cautious about placing high expectations and pressure on Harvey before his major league debut.
“We said, ‘Don’t approach this like you’re the savior and you’re going to turn this thing around,’ ” Collins said. “There’s a lot of things we’ve got to fix. Our starting rotation’s only one part of it.” (h/t New York Times)
Alderson had the same sentiment as Collins with Harvey's debut.
“He’s ready to pitch here, but this is still part of his development process,” Alderson said. “There’s going to be a period of adjustment here at the major league level. So we don’t expect him to be perfect.” (h/t New York Times)
Nevertheless, this is good for both parties involved. Harvey gets an opportunity and get on a track for the future and the Mets, knowing this is a process, can find out a little more about one of their top prospects.
If and when Wheeler gets this opportunity at the major league level, expect the same cautious optimism management is taking now with Harvey.