Former Giants prospect Zack Wheeler
Turn on the radio sometime during the 1950s and you were likely to hear a story about Willie Mays or a recap of Ted Williams' latest on-field exploits.
Shell out five cents for a newspaper and you could be treated to the latest Stan Musial box score and a grainy black-and-white picture of a star player.
Today I can sign into Twitter and immediately know what players, such as Zack Wheeler, are up to:
Zach Wheeler @Wheelerpro45: "What's everybody watching tonight? The New Storage Wars? Or the New Teen Mom?"
Ted Williams' frozen head just exploded.
Fans have a personal connection with players today that was unheard of before. This connection means that an unproven prospect being shipped off is now akin to a family member getting traded. But for every hilarious cousin Francisco that gets regretfully traded, there is a nephew Todd who you can't wait to see go.
The Giants have made their fair share of good and bad trades in the past. Here are five that might have gotten away.
Don't know who Scott Barnes is?
Traded for Ryan Garko in 2009, Barnes had very minimal baseball experience. Since then he has begun to mature in the minors. Still only 23 years old, Barnes accumulated 90 K's against only 34 BB last season.
Garko last played in Korea. He was released by the Samsung Lions on July 12th.
Part Two of the A.J. Pierzynski kick-in-the-groin trade, Joe Nathan was shipped to Minnesota and then proceeded to rack up 260 saves as the Twins closer.
Here is what we know about Zach Wheeler so far, courtesy of project prospect:
Wheeler has two pitches that could surface as plus, in his fastball and curveball. The changeup I saw doesn't look like it will be more than a slightly above-average pitch. He could use more seasoning with his changeup as well as his command, but he could be a back-of-the-rotation starter in the big leagues tomorrow. His upside, which he could still be 3-4 years from reaching, is as a very good No. 2 starter and maybe even an ace for stretches of time.
Here's something else to think about, courtesy of project prospect:
Alderson has quite the mound presence especially considering he’s 6 foot 7 with a very unorthodox delivery. His delivery is very deceiving and fortunately does not cause any issues with his control. Alderson looks to project to be a solid number two starter with incredible control.
The second snippet is a 2009 breakdown of Tim Alderson. A once-touted pitcher in the Giants farm system who was traded for Freddy Sanchez, Alderson is now a mid-level prospect in the Pirates organization after struggling with mechanics and a drop in velocity.
It is far to early to say the Giants made a mistake by trading Zach Wheeler, because at present Wheeler hasn't accomplished anything. Wheeler could just as easily turn into nephew Alderson as he could cousin Liriano.
Historically the Giants have been incredibly guarded with their prospects. There have been very few instances where the Giants have let a top prospect go via trade, and even fewer where the prospect has flourished elsewhere.
See: Grilli, Jason.
For the meantime anyway, the Zach Wheeler fascination has more to do with his fan connectivity than it does with his on-field productivity.