Prospect Watch: Zack Wheeler

Last season during another season where they struggled, the New York Mets made the difficult decision to trade one of the greatest free agent signings in team history, Carlos Beltran. While as a fan who has watched Beltran in a Mets jersey ever since I started watching baseball (remember, I’m only 21) and it was hard to see him go, you have to look at what the Mets got in return: Zack Wheeler, a top-tier pitching prospect in the San Francisco Giants farm system. And let me tell you right now, that trade was an absolute steal for New York.

When Wheeler came to the Mets last year, he started in Single-A and did well, posting a 2-2 record with an ERA of 2.00. In 2012 the Mets decided to promote him to AA Binghamton when the season began and while some believed he may struggle to make the transition of higher competition, Zack Wheeler is absolutely lighting it up. In 52.2 innings this season, Wheeler is 5-2 with a terrific 1.88 ERA. He’s walked 21 and has struck out 60 batters, that’s 7 strikeouts more than innings he’s pitched this season. Not to mention, his batting average against is .230, which is pretty outstanding. With a plus fastball and curveball, good change-up and his somewhat new cutter, he definitely has the pitches and the stuff to succeed at a major league level.

While it is highly unlikely that we see Wheeler in the majors this year or even to start the 2013 season, he is on his way and he is coming up fast. If he continues this torrid run in Binghamton, I believe that at some point very soon the Mets will promote Wheeler to AAA Buffalo and see how he is pitching at that level. New York has a bright future with their major pitching prospects in Matt Harvey, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia but it appears that out of all of them, Zack Wheeler could very well be the future ace of this young staff. Only time will tell.

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