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Wheeler at the 2012 All-Star Futures Game. He is currently a future ace in the making.
Zack Wheeler, the second top-10 prospect, may end up in Triple-A after spring training, but he will one day be a top-of-the-rotation guy for the New York Mets.
Wheeler, Matt Harvey, and perhaps Noah Syndergaard are all one day expected to become one of the best starting pitcher trios in baseball.
At 6’4”, the 22-year-old has a long, pitcher’s body, which will be very beneficial for throwing hitters off-balance.
The scouting report on Wheeler is exceptional.
Wheeler has three quality pitches in his fastball, curveball, and changeup. He has the ability to throw mid-90s with his fastball, but more importantly has the presence of mind to drop the fastball to low-90s or high-80s to get more command if he needs it. His curveball gets unbelievable break, and is a great strikeout pitch. He slows and drops his arm a bit on his changeup, but that is a very easy fix and will surely be worked on in spring training.
As for his minor league stats, Wheeler has steadily pitched well as he has risen through the minor league ranks.
In 2012, Wheeler had a 3.26 ERA in 19 Double-A starts, and a 3.27 ERA in six Triple-A starts, which is as consistent as you can get.
In total, Wheeler finished 2012 with 148 strikeouts in 149 innings, which are dominant numbers, but Wheeler must slightly lower his 59 walks in those innings, as well. But considering opposing hitters hit a combined .221 last season, Wheeler’s command should not be in question.
However, it is very likely Wheeler will not be in the rotation on Opening Day.
If Wheeler is on the Mets’ roster before the All-Star break, he would be eligible for Super-Two arbitration in the future.
Quite simply, players can file for arbitration after 3-6 years of major league experience. But Super-Two arbitration means that if a player is in the majors for two years and 86 days, then if a few other likely clauses occur then Wheeler can still file for arbitration.
Considering the Mets are slowly recovering from their vast financial struggles, as well as the fact that they will eventually need to pay these prospects in the future, they will likely wait until the All-Star break to call up Wheeler.
This would afford them an entire extra year of his services before worrying about paying him long-term.
But if the Mets surprise early this season like they did in the first half of 2012, it is certainly possible Wheeler will be on the team before the All-Star break.
Nevertheless, fans will be drooling over Wheeler’s ability by the end of spring training, and his time will come very soon.