The New York Mets have decided to keep their top two prospects, pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud with their Triple-A Las Vegas team. While the two young players seem to be ready for the MLB, the team is thinking towards the future.
Wheeler and d’Arnaud both came to the Mets as part of blockbuster trades. When the team traded Carlos Beltran at the trade deadline in 2011, it was for the young hard-throwing Wheeler. The Mets traded reigning Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey this offseason to the Toronto Blue Jays with d’Arnaud as the main piece coming back.
While the fans would like to see these two prospects playing in New York rather than Las Vegas, it is the right move for the team to keep them as minor leaguers for the time being. Even with Wheeler and d’Arnaud, the Mets are at best the third best team in their own division, and are still at least a year from playoff contention. Wheeler still needs to work on his command and d’Arnaud is a year removed from a major knee injury, rushing them to the majors is simply not worth it.
If the team keeps the two players in the minors for the first 20 games of the season, as they are expected to, neither will be eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season. Neither player is expected to make their debut until at least late June at the earliest and if the Mets struggle early, the hype surrounding the debuts of Wheeler and d’Arnaud will become even more palpable.