It is safe to say that no one considered the New York Mets to be a playoff contenders at the beginning of the baseball season, but if they don’t provide their fans with a glimpse of the future fairly soon the Mets’ faithful might lose interest in the season.
Zack Wheeler, the coveted 22-year-old Minor League pitcher, could provide that spark for the starting rotation and bring fans to Citi Field.
With a 12-16 record, and a 3-8 record in the past 11 games, the Mets have fallen to fourth place and 5.5 games back in the National League East division.
Not only have they been playing poorly as a team, but their starting pitching has been dreadful outside of pitching phenom Matt Harvey, who is currently 4-0 with an ERA of 1.56 according nymets.com.
If you don’t include Harvey’s stats, the Mets starting pitching has a record of 4-11 with only 73 strikeouts. These stats aren’t good enough for any team that is trying to compete. This is especially true for the Mets, who don’t have much offensive firepower.
Besides Harvey and superstar third baseman David Wright, there aren’t too many exciting players on the roster that could help the Mets win games—much less bring people to the stands for their home games.
If they want to compete at the Major League level, they will need more talent in their starting rotation, but the Mets just don’t have that right now.
All that Mets fans need to know is that Jeremy Hefner, Aaron Laffey and Shaun Marcum have made a total of nine starts for the team. In no way, shape, or form is anyone in this group strong enough to be fourth or fifth starters on a major league team.
As a result, it is necessary for the Mets to call up Wheeler sooner than later because as of right now, the talent is not there in their starting rotation. Although people don’t want to rush his development, Wheeler has demonstrated that he has the necessary tools to be a better pitcher than Hefner, Laffey or Marcum.
The Mets acquired Zack Wheeler in a trade that GM Sandy Alderson pulled off in July of 2011. The trade sent slugger and proven veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants for Wheeler, who was the Giants’ top pitching prospect at the time.
Wheeler has demonstrated a lot of growth while pitching in the farm system and because of that he is currently ranked eighth on MLB.com’s list of the Top 100 prospects for the 2013 season.
He is on the cusp of making it to the majors relatively soon regardless of the bumps in the road he had earlier this year.
Despite the struggles Wheeler had at the beginning of the season for the Las Vegas 51s, which is the Mets Triple-A affiliate, he has performed extremely well in his last two starts. His last start against the Sacramento River Cats, which is the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s Triple-A, he had a stellar game, allowing only three hits and no earned runs over six shutout innings.
Calling up Wheeler will not only benefit the Mets, but it will help Wheeler get acclimated to facing big league hitting.
When Matt Harvey was called up to the majors in July of last year, he had a few tough games, going 3-5 in ten starts, but he has been lights-out in his first six starts of the 2013 season.
If the Mets plan to be a serious playoff threat by 2015, they need to start getting their prospects major league ready right now, and this is particularly true for their top prospect. Even though the Mets won't be fighting for a playoff spot, the time is now for their minor league talent to get the experience they need.
Erick Fernandez is the creator of I Want to Thank My Hood & My Psychiatrist.
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