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The Daily Stache

Zack Wheeler is Doing Better Than You Think

Zack Wheeler

One of the many things that have caused concern for Mets fans so far in the 2014 season is the inconsistent performance of former top prospect Zack Wheeler. Wheeler as of right now is 3-8 with an ERA of 4.25

After bursting onto the scene in the middle of 2013 to the tune of a 3.42 ERA in his rookie season, many expected Wheeler to take it to the next level and perhaps fill the void of the injured Matt Harvey.

It has yet to happen, but there is some statistical reasons to believe that Zack Wheeler is making strides to becoming the frontline starter that we all expected

Throughout his minor league career and early on in his major league career, Wheeler has always struggled to consistently throw strikes and get quick outs. He struggles with efficiency and has often seen his night end after the fifth or sixth inning.

He had another outing in which he struggled with command last Monday against the Atlanta Braves where he walked five in 6.1 innings. However most of the walks came early in the game, including a couple to Freddie Freeman who he pitched around, and he settled down nicely while only allowing one run and striking out four.

Before that start, his walks per nine innings (BB/9) was down from 4.1 in 2013 to 3.7 (however, it has gone up to 4.0 after his shaky beginning in Atlanta). He is also striking out more batters as his strikeouts per nine (K/9) is up from 7.6 last season to 9.0 this season.

The one negative from his rookie season to this year is that he has unfortunately been giving up more hits. His hits per nine is up from 8.1 last year compared to 8.5 this year.

On a positive note, Wheeler is also inducing more ground balls as his GB% is 53.9 compared to 43.2 from last season. With his flyball rate down, he has also given up fewer home runs.

His BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is up from .276 to .326, meaning that he has been affected by poor defense (likely by his infield because of all the ground balls he’s been inducing)

In conclusion, it may not look very pretty right now, but there is reason to believe that Zack Wheeler will show improvement in the near future.

He definitely has the talent to be great and its all about harnessing that potential. After all, he is still only 24 and going through the normal growing pains of a pitching prospect.

I guess we were all just spoiled by Matt Harvey’s rapid rise to dominance last season. Wheeler is showing us that not everyone going to progress like Harvey, no matter how much we wanted that to happen.

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