Zack Wheeler is one of the crown pitching jewels in the New York Mets franchise. Plain and simple.
The lanky 22-year-old right-hander is the pitcher Mets fans are talking about this spring training. He has nasty stuff and appears to be on the fast track to the major leagues as a future No. 1 or 2 starter in New York's pitching rotation.
He gives Mets fans much needed hope.
If Santana continues to be plagued with setbacks, does that mean Wheeler may have an opportunity to begin his 2013 season with the parent club? Mets fans may be clamoring for it. Will he be deemed ready to face major league hitters on a regular basis?
While it might be tempting for manager Terry Collins to christen the Smyrna, Ga., native as one of his five starting pitchers when the Mets break camp and head north in late March, here are four reasons why it would be prudent for Wheeler to commence his 2013 campaign at Triple-A Las Vegas and not in Flushing, N.Y.