It's almost Zack Wheeler time
It has been a very rough month for the New York Mets. The team is sinking faster than the Titanic after hitting an iceberg.
But the cavalry has been called. Can they help?
The much-anticipated major league debut of Zack Wheeler should finally occur next week in Atlanta. General manager Sandy Alderson also recently recalled several players from Triple-A Las Vegas to try and help the parent club.
How much assistance they'll provide manager Terry Collins remains to be seen. Let's take a look at what kind of an impact those players should make with New York as we head towards the midway part of the 2013 MLB campaign.
The move Mets fans have been waiting for is finally about to happen. According to SI.com, Zack Wheeler may be making his MLB debut against the Atlanta Braves on June 18.
The lanky right-hander from Smyrna, GA has posted a 4-1 record with a 4.14 ERA in 12 starts for Triple-A Las Vegas so far this season. The 23-year-old Wheeler has fanned 66 batters in 63 innings of work.
"He is that somebody we're counting on for the future," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told SI.com. "So in that sense he's beginning what we hope is a long career as a New York Met, a long, successful career as a New York Met."
Mets fans certainly hope so. By delaying Wheeler's debut until mid-June, New York is assured that Wheeler won't be eligible for salary arbitration until after the 2016 season has concluded.
Wheeler was the sixth overall pick of the 2009 amateur draft by the San Francisco Giants but was traded two years ago to the Mets in the Carlos Beltran deal.
It appears that trade is about to pay off for the Mets.
Ike Davis' demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas is Josh Satin's gain. The 28-year-old right-handed hitter should see the field from time to time at first base for manager Terry Collins in New York's revamped lineup.
Satin hit .305, nine home runs. 32 RBI and owned a .420 OBP for the 51's in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. He has had a few cups of coffee with New York before, hitting .192 with two RBI in 26 at-bats spanning the 2011-12 seasons with the Mets.
The University of California product can also back up David Wright at third base, but his main role will be backing up Daniel Murphy at first base.
This is his opportunity to shine and add some much-needed punch to New York's listless offensive attack. Satin won't provide the power numbers Davis would produce when he was going well but should provide a better batting average and OBP than Davis did. He also should not strike out nearly as much.
Few players in baseball struck out as much as Davis did this season.
At his age, Satin needs to make a more positive impression with the Mets this time around.
The husky southpaw made his return to the big leagues with a scoreless inning against the Cardinals on Tuesday night. The Mets need him to pitch well out of the bullpen to take some pressure off fellow southpaw Scott Rice, who leads the National League in appearances.
The 26-year-old Edgin performed well last season but really struggled during spring training. He posted a combined 5.91 ERA pitching for Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas this season.
Not very impressive.
Despite his struggles, Edgin was promoted to New York on Monday. He was originally sent down to the minors on Apr. 27, when his ERA ballooned to 9.64.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Edgin showed enough improvement to earn his promotion.
"The velocity is back up, which is very important for him," Collins told newsday.com. "One thing that they told me was the command of his fastball was getting better, which is the second biggest thing we talked about."
Edgin seems confident he can do the job.
"My mentality's back," Edgin told newsday.com. "I'm not afraid to throw the ball, I guess you could say...Going bad is really overwhelming, especially when you want to prove to anyone in here you deserve to be here."
Edgin should help New York by being able to get a tough left-handed slugger like a Carlos Gonzalez or Ryan Howard out in a big spot. He has good stuff but struggles with his command at times.
He'll also be able to take some of the pressure off the over-worked Rice's shoulders.
Captain Kirk is back.
From Triple-A Las Vegas that is. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is slated to platoon in center field with Juan Lagares moving forward. He'll also get some playing time in right field on occasion.
His first start since returning to the Mets did not go well on Tuesday night as the left-handed hitting Nieuwenhuis went 0-for-4 and made an error (see photo above). The hitless night dropped the Santa Monica, CA native's average to a feeble .095.
That's brutal, but there is a glimmer of hope. Nieuwenhuis belted 10 HR in just 36 games for the 51s, including eight home runs in 16 contests since May 22.
Sure, home runs are more frequent in the PCL but his power surge was the main reason Nieuwenhuis was recalled last week.
This is his chance. He should get plenty of at-bats as a left-handed hitter in his platoon with Lagares. Nieuwenhuis batted .252 with seven HR and 28 RBI in 282 AB in 2012, so he has performed decently in the past. Despite Tuesday's miscue, he's considered a good defensive outfielder.
Will he take advantage of this big opportunity?
Knowing the way the Mets are going—probably not—but he's just 25 years old and entering the prime years of his career.
We'll find out soon enough.