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Wheeler pitching at the 2010 XM All-Star Futures Game. He pitched one shutout inning.
Zack Wheeler, the highly rated prospect whom the New York Mets acquired in a straight trade with the San Francisco Giants for Carlos Beltran in July 2011, is finally ready to make his major league debut.
The 6’4”, 22-year-old phenom has a very long, lean pitcher’s body. He mixes a high-90s fastball with a very good curveball. Beginning the year in AA and ending in AAA, Wheeler posted a total of 148 strikeouts in 149.0 innings, as well as allowing a mere four home runs all year.
He also posted a 3.26 ERA in AA and a 3.27 ERA in his brief AAA stint, which is as close to consistent between levels as one can get.
However, it should be noted that if Wheeler did make the opening day roster, which GM Sandy Alderson subtly hinted is a very slight possibility, he would be eligible for Super Two arbitration three years down the road.
To put as simply as possible, players file for arbitration after being in the majors for between 3-6 years. Super Two arbitration means that if Wheeler is in the majors for two years and 86 days, then if other very likely clauses occur, he can still file for arbitration.
Quite simply, the cash-strapped Mets aren’t willing to let that happen, and will likely wait until the first possible day beyond that deadline to call him up. This will buy them an extra year of Wheeler’s services before they worry about his arbitration eligibility. They did the same thing last year with Matt Harvey.
Regardless of when it happens, Wheeler should get called up at some point this season and prove why he is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.