The New York Mets' new No. 1 prospect Zack Wheeler will make his Mets debut Monday night for Class A Advanced St. Lucie when the Florida State League affiliate wraps up a three-game series on the road against the Dunedin Blue Jays.
Wheeler was the top pitcher in the San Francisco Giants organization and came to the Mets in the deal that sent outfielder Carlos Beltran to the West Coast and will be on a tight leash. But he is expected to draw a lot of attention when he takes the mound for the first time.
Assuming Wheeler pitches every fifth day over the course of the regular season, the 21-year-old will make a total of six starts. Mets VP Paul DePodesta told reporters on a conference call Friday that Wheeler, who tossed 88 innings with San Jose, will throw about 30 more innings in St. Lucie.
With that in mind, don't expect the right-hander to go deep into many games, especially considering St. Lucie will also likely give Wheeler at least one start in the FSL playoffs, which start on Sept. 6. The Mets stamped their ticket to the postseason by winning the North Division first half crown with a four-game lead over the Fort Myers Miracle.
It will be interesting to see whether the Mets make any adjustments to Wheeler's pitching motion and mechanics over the next month.
When he started out with the Giants, pitching coaches within the organization made changes to his delivery and slowed his motion. Now, the 6'4", 185-pound stud has gone back to his old high school motion, mainly a high leg kick with a more fluid arm action.
According to ESPN, DePodesta said the Mets won't "go in there and immediately start changing things." He said he'll let him do what feels comfortable and then reevaluate things based on the results.
On Friday, Wheeler threw a 32-pitch bullpen session in front of the Mets Minor League pitching coordinator, Rick Tomlin, who was reportedly happy with the pitcher's curveball. He described it as "like hell, right from out of the chute," the New York Daily News reported.