The Mets are struggling in nearly every facet of the game in what is quickly becoming another lost season. The team becomes tougher and tougher to watch every day.
It is tough to see any hope on the horizon, but believe it or not, the future of the Mets still appears to be bright. Zack Wheeler is the crown jewel in the Mets’ rebuilding plan, and “Wheeler Time” is seemingly within a few weeks of becoming a reality.
It is being reported that the Mets will call up their top pitching prospect after Wheeler makes 2 or 3 more starts in the minors. What impact will this anticipated move have on the team?
If Wheeler is called up, the Mets will need to take somebody out of the rotation and send somebody down to the minors. Matt Harvey and Jon Niese are not going anywhere, and it would be hard to see the Mets give up on Shaun Marcum so early.
The prime candidates to lose their spots in the rotation are Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner. The Mets know Hefner is not a part of their future, making Jeremy the most likely candidate to give up his rotation spot for Wheeler.
But who gets sent down? Hefner, Greg Burke, and Collin McHugh will be on the chopping block. The most logical move would be to send McHugh down to AAA ball to continue his development while sticking Hefner in the long-reliever slot.
This would give the Mets a rotation of Harvey, Niese, Wheeler, Marcum, and Gee, with a bullpen of Parnell, Lyon, Rice, Burke, Hefner, Hawkins, and Carson (who will likely lose his job when Frank Francisco is ready).
Is Wheeler ready to be a major league pitcher? All of the evidence says “yes”. Wheeler has impressed scouts, the Mets’ brass, and the fans who have gotten an opportunity to see him pitch.
After a slow start to the season in hitter-friendly Las Vegas, Wheeler has picked it up of late and shown that his days in AAA are numbered.
Scouts say that Wheeler has incredible stuff and should be better than Harvey (which seems like an impossible feat right now) if he can fix his minor command issues.
Wheeler is clearly ready to pitch in the major leagues, and should become the Mets’ third best pitcher the day he is called up. Zack Wheeler sports a plus-plus fastball with a slowly developing changeup and two well-developed breaking pitches.
Wheeler will probably be called up sometime around June 10. He should be good out of the gate, albeit not yet dominant.
Will he turn the Mets into a good team? Not by himself.
Like Matt Harvey, he can only help the Mets 1 out of every 5 days, and he will need support from New York’s pathetic offense.
In the short term, Wheeler’s main contribution will be to provide excitement and hope to an increasingly apathetic fan base.
But in time, Wheeler and Harvey will hopefully be the anchors of a very solid rotation. Mets fans have a lot of things to worry about. Zack Wheeler is not one of them.